Charles Attal and Charlie Walker, Co-Founders, C3 Presents

– C3
Attal & Walker

In Their Own Words:
Charlies In Charge

Charles Attal and Charlie Walker
Co-Founders, C3 Presents  

C3 Presents has thrived and – in many ways – set the model for the major, multi-genre music festival. In recent years its flagship Lollapalooza has expanded to multiple continents, its sprawling Austin City Limits Music Festival has added a second weekend and boutique events like Sea.Hear.Now, Innings Fest and others have helped find a way to keep the pace and innovate in what is often considered one of the most challenging and risky sectors of the concert business.

That challenge and risk, of course, was given whole new meaning when COVID-19 hit, as large outdoor gatherings are some of the hardest to figure out logistically and where the idea of reduced capacity is nearly an oxymoron. Add to that the company’s other core business includes operating and talent buying for clubs including the famous Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in its hometown of Austin, Texas – another nearly impossible nut to crack with any reduced capacity and ever-changing restrictions – and C3 Presents has faced a tougher situation than most.

However, co-founders Charles Attal and Charlie Walker are primed to get back to action, with plans for the end of 2021 and the overall concert business apparently full steam ahead for 2022 with new tours being announced daily.

“We have been working on festivals and projects that we had underway prior to the pandemic,” Attal says, “Gearing up for a lot of festivals and concerts in the pipeline for the end of 2021 and into 2022. We’re also working on completing a couple of new venues in Austin – the Moody Amphitheater and Moody Center.”

Walker elaborates: “We have been continuing to develop new festivals and working on improving our existing events throughout the past year. The C3 team also proudly produced the Field of Flags at the Biden/Harris Inauguration in January, and most recently handled the production of this year’s NFL Draft in Cleveland.”

The Hopeful New Normal

Charlie Walker: “There will be a huge bounce back from the pent-up demand. It’s already been proven with the events we’ve put on sale so far. Prior to the pandemic, we were seeing some real growth in a lot of areas, particularly in developing countries that we haven’t been to yet, so I expect that to continue.”

Charles Attal: “Artists will be breaking all kinds of records with ticket sales. People are starved for the live experience and the demand from fans is palpable.”

Walker: “Sustainability has always been a priority for us. Our goal for our events is to get to zero landfill by minimizing what we are sending to the waste cycle. We are aiming to get as close to 100% recyclable or compostable as possible.”

Backline Support

Walker: “We have also been working to support the Austin community in a variety of ways including partnering with organizations such as Musically Fed and the Touring Professionals Alliance to feed folks in need, partnering with HAAM to provide a vaccination clinic at Emo’s for musicians and music industry professionals, and leading the water distribution program for Austin after the Texas freeze.”

Attal: “I’ve tried to make sure I’m present and always available for our team while staying steady through it all. It’s been important to be honest to share with the team what we are hearing from health officials and city leaders on a regular basis so we can manage the expectations and create appropriate timelines for announcing festivals and concerts.”

Walker: “The main thing was just being available for our team members that needed us, whenever they needed us. We kept busy with various projects during the downtime including livestreams and socially distanced shows in an effort to remain motivated and inspired.”

Remote Control

Attal: “Being able to spend time with my kids every day is a gift. I also have a better balance in my travel schedule.”

Walker: “The realization that most of us traveled far too often to take meetings was one takeaway. We learned quickly that we are able to accomplish quite a bit on conference calls or Zoom. Finding that balance between travel and remote meetings will be healthier for all of us moving forward.”

The Changing Landscape

Walker: “There needs to be more diversity in recruitment. Prior to the pandemic, C3 launched a partnership with Huston-Tillotson University to create a paid apprenticeship designed to improve our ability to reach minorities during recruitment. We are also working with Huston-Tillotson to develop an undergraduate music business program at the University and helping to lead a city-wide effort to encourage other music and hospitality businesses in Austin to join this apprenticeship program to encourage inclusivity and diversity hiring across our industry.”

Personal Best

Walker: “I think my biggest accomplishment at C3 has been empowering people to develop their careers and become great leaders. It’s always been important to me to give my team the runway to get out there and succeed, giving them room to grow and learn. We’ve been able to build a stable, long-term team that has had great success as a company and as individuals. It’s never about me, it’s about us as a team.” s.

Hot Takes

The business philosophy you live by?

Walker: Do what you say you’re going to do.

The artist you would most like to see live when touring and festivals return?

Attal: Anything from a tiny club act to a stadium act – I just need to get back to seeing shows.

When it’s safe to do so, will you go back to the office, work remotely or a combination of both??

Attal: It will be a combo of both. Working remotely can be productive but I also enjoy the interaction with our team in the office .
Walker: I was an early adopter of working remotely.  At C3, we’ll have a hybrid of remote work and office time as it meets the needs of the team. 

Artist To Watch Breaking Next Year?

Attal: La Doña.

How do you think livestreaming will or won’t be integrated into your business going forward?

Attal: It’s definitely here to stay.  It’s a great complement to the tour, especially for fans who can’t come to the show.  

Walker: Livestreaming is going to be a part of the business forever.  It will continue to develop and grow and be a big part of our industry. 

Your favorite music documentary – recent or old?

Attal: Bee Gees.

Walker:Spinal Tap

TikTok, Clubhouse or Zoom? Why? 

Attal: Zoom.