Pollstar + VenuesNow 2022 Women Of Live: Carolyn Snell

Red Light Management
Manager for Brandi Carlile

When Carolyn Snell ran off with Lillith Fair as tour sponsor rep for Bioré Pore Strips, she didn’t know she’d never go home. But the wildly organized girl who had a knack for keeping people together found herself becoming an essential part of roadlife for Brandi Carlile, Indigo Girls, Backstreet Boys, John Mayer, Reba and Janet Jackson.

Fourteen years after serving as Tour Manager for the emerging singer/songwriter who embodied women’s lives in her songs, the Omaha-born Snell returned to the Grammy-winning supernova’s orbit as Carlile’s day-to-day manager. Arriving in time to set up In These Silent Days with its triple Grammy-nominated “Right On Time,” Snell found herself navigating Carlile through the Kennedy Center Honors, Carnegie Hall and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions – all while complying with ever-evolving COVID protocols.

Working at the highest levels of touring, “Snellycat” cites Carlile’s commitment to inclusion as a bright light for the future. “I have watched Brandi use her platform, which she herself has spent decades building, to promote others.”

Snell, herself a cornerstone in Nashville’s Thistle Farms organization which helps get women who are trafficked, drug addicted or prostitutes off the streets, knows the power of seeing the change needed in the actions of leaders. She points to “Keep Sharing The Mic,” a panel at this year’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend Festival in Mexico, where four different artists “shared their experience in the world and introduced themselves in a radically human way, as guided by Looking Out Foundation board member Xiomara Padamsee.”

Eschewing labels, titles and other industry signifiers spoke to Snell, who’s watched the massive departure from the touring industry of people worked with, venues struggling and artists trying to support their teams in such uncertain times.

“I realized the shift from the habitual grinding to pausing and being present in the moment was more powerful than it had ever been… There’s a new hyperawareness to honor the humanity of those in our industry, not just the results they provide; being vulnerable in conversations with colleagues and taking deep breaths of gratitude.”