– The Back (9) Stage:
At Moon Crush’s “music vacation,” fans will gather in socially distanced coves on the links at Seascape Golf, Beach and Tennis Resort for four days of music by a dozen artists.
Andy Levine knows how to put on shows in unusual places. The entrepreneur founded Sixthman in 2001, which has produced music cruises for artists from Kid Rock to Kesha, and in recent years he staged intimate “Moon Crush” shows on Atlanta-area golf courses.
When the pandemic scrambled Levine’s April 2020 family vacation to Miramar Beach, Fla., they booked a long-term rental and then bought a place in the area to ride out the pandemic. On morning bike rides, inspiration struck Levine. Now, through his new company Topeka, he’s reimagining his golf course concerts for the COVID era. Billed as “a safely connected music vacation” – and not a festival – Moon Crush will gather 12 acts, including Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow and Margo Price, and about 2,000 fans from April 26 to May 1 – including a day off – in the beach town’s Seascape Golf, Beach and Tennis Resort.
Levine connected with Pollstar to discuss Moon Crush’s origins, lineup and future.
POLLSTAR: What was initial planning like?
ANDY LEVINE: I approached the golf course, Seascape Resort, told them about my background. I said, “I think we can put on a really safe vacation.” … We took video of all these houses around the golf course – hundreds – and we made this spreadsheet of the house, the address and who the management company was. We found the top three [management companies], went and met with the owners. I said, “Hey, I know this sounds crazy, but is there a week that makes a lot of sense where we could do these shows outside? People could walk or take a golf cart. We could rent some homes.” … We partnered with Sixthman to help us offer some travel stuff and then we started working on this event.
What makes golf courses good venues?
They have great, manicured landscapes of different sizes and shapes and angles, so there’s usually several great places on a golf course to do something. People are like, “Wow, aren’t they gonna be upset if you have people standing on their golf course?” I used to think this too! But when we started doing concerts on them a few years ago, I would meet with the greenskeepers, [who would say], “Hey, I got guys out here all day swinging clubs, digging up this place. We’re kinda set up to fix stuff.”
– Moon Crush
With just one stage and three acts per day, Moon Crush is unlike traditional festivals. How did you land on this format?
“Festival” has come to mean thousands of people in a field, multiple stages, bands all day long. What we were going after was an audience who would want to travel and have just as much emphasis on the vacation as they would the music – while people have missed music, I think they’ve missed each other a little bit more. [Moon Crush] is a good day out, but you still have your morning and your evening to do what you do on vacation: go to the beach, go fishing, play golf, do yoga, read.
How will your “coves” look?
They’re four 4-by-4 posts with some nice nautical rope in between to define your area. Those were sized based on the housing, so we have some that hold two people, and we have some that hold 20 people [that are larger]. We were really intentional about putting the bigger groups closer to the stage for the artists. We wanted the artist to have as much density as possible so it felt like the front row and they could get that energy they like.
Tell me about booking the event.
The good news is that everyone was wide open and available, and no one thought anything was gonna happen. … [CODE-R Productions’] Todd Coder out of Birmingham was super instrumental. … [One booking criteria was] if you haven’t seen music for a year, what are 10 to 12 bands that would just like be the best freakin’ first bands to see again, who would just kind of kick your ass?
What’s Moon Crush’s future?
We’re going to work around the moon. This Moon Crush was during the pink moon, and then we’ve identified a window, October 20 to mid-November down in the same area. We’re working on that around the harvest moon to put together a few of these back-to-back.