Global Festival Promoter
Lollapalooza has changed and evolved and kept up with the challenges and new frontiers of the live business. Starting as a massive multi-artist tour before settling into a more traditional festival, it’s now gone global with events in South America and Europe. Next year, Lolla India launches in Mumbai.
Joe Howard, C3 Presents’ global festival promoter, has seen it all. Starting as an intern with C3 while at the University of North Carolina, he worked as a runner and a production assistant while getting hands-on experience with booking and promotion. After setting up Chicago’s Grant Park for Lollapalooza that summer, he’s never looked back.
“I think you must be ready to jump in no matter the task and have a great attitude while you do it. That will take you further than anything else,” he says. “I’d like to think that I can learn on the fly and adapt to a given situation easily, so as I was immersed into the music business world, I tried to absorb as much as I could in a very fast-paced environment. I’m not afraid to jump in and get my hands dirty and was ready to do that in the early years of C3 when I worked on a lot of different projects. I think that really helped me grasp how the business worked as well as earn the respect of my colleagues along the way.”
Howard loves to jump in with both feet. Directing international expansion means learning about new countries and cultures constantly and being ready for pleasant surprises along the way.
“Over the years we have developed a proper South American tour where we have 40-plus international bands and local/regional talent playing festivals and headline shows across three to five different countries over a 10-day period,” he says. “It is a logistical challenge to make it all work. It might be the closest parallel to the original Lollapalooza touring days from the ’90s where bands are traveling from city to city together and in this case often playing the region for the first time in their career. Anyone who has been to South America can tell you that the crowds in those countries are some of the most passionate music fans in the world.”