– Tariq Cherif
Tariq Cherif, who co-founded trailblazing and independent Rolling Loud Festival with childhood friend Matt Zingler, has created an event from scratch that attracts more than just top hip-hop talent.
In only its fifth year with four major destinations and more in the pipeline overseas, athletes, celebrities and others are forking over as much as $20,000 for VIP packages. Of course, imitators are cropping up.
“We’re seeing some competition from the big multi-genre festivals, and obviously there are and will be more and more corporate promoters putting together hip-hop festivals now that they see the success of ours.
“Whether it’s a big promoter or radio station, I think we’ll see some others,” Cherif says.
“Anybody coming out in the festival space trying to launch big, they have no character. They didn’t grow a fan base, they just give a really big lineup with no sauce or special ingredient.
“I like to think we’re here to stay because we have an authentic story, [and we] grew with the culture and with the scene and with the artists that are now headlining,” Cherif says.
That took lots of hard work, including substantial DIY digital marketing during the infancy of social media advertising.
“If an artist wasn’t big enough, they wouldn’t even come up as an interest to target,” he said, explaining how he’d handpick social media users to target based on similar interests, lifestyles or “even just attractive girls with lots of followers” and “people that seemed like concert promoters.” It also meant hitting the pavement.
“Yeah, I found the platforms to upload phone numbers and send a text blast to, but where do you get the numbers?” Cherif said.
“I remember we had a Mac Miller show in 2011 or 2012, I sold 300 tickets myself hand to hand.
“I literally had a piece of paper with all their numbers on it and would save them on my phone when I got home.”