I just wanted to play shows in front of people with my band,” Goldenvoice senior vice president Danny Bell tells Pollstar. “I never thought this would be a profession.”
Bell’s first booking experience was putting together bills of local bands to play shows with his own group when he was in 8th grade.
The renowned New York City venue The Knitting Factory “gave me a shot when I was 15,” he says. In 2007, Bell went to Coachella. “After that weekend, I knew I wanted to book and produce festivals for a living,” he says. He landed in the perfect place and credits a smorgasbord of top live executive mentors — Paul Tollett, Melissa Ormond, Rick Mueller, Jim Glancy, John Moore, James Barton and Don Strasburg.
“They’ve taught me everything from how the business works as a whole, how to realize a vision, and how to successfully work within a large organization. They’ve also taught about how much work and dedication goes into producing the best events, and how to hustle to make crazy ideas into realities,” he says. “One of the most important things that I have learned from my mentors is how important it is to be true to yourself and have a point of view when booking and producing festivals and events.”
He’s got advice of his own, too: “Hustle to get your foot in the door. Then don’t be an asshole, and do a good job.”
Bell says he got lucky coming of age when he did, being able to experience the initial U.S. festival boom.
“I was able to go to many of the major festivals as a 17- to 22-year-old when they were developing. I constantly refer to those experiences when producing and programming festivals now,” he says. “I strive to program festival days as amazing as these now, and I’m lucky to have been able to experience these shows firsthand.”
Bell says that streaming services and the increase in genre-specific festivals combine to create opportunities for more artists to be successful touring acts. “Every year there’s an excited new crop of artists,” he says.