The first installment of our series on the creation of ¡OtraFest! a new music festival set to debut in Corpus Christi, Texas in September 21-23, 2018 at the House of Rock. Alt Revue has been given behind the scenes access into this exciting new musical venture. For this installment, we had the opportunity to speak with Casey Lain, owner of House of Rock and the driving force behind ¡OtraFest!. Additionally, we were able to get access to the setup of the House of Rock's 13th Anniversary Party setup, to get some photos of the venue, as the setup will be similar to ¡OtraFest!.
1. Can you walk me through how the idea for ¡OtraFest! came about and how long this has been in the works?
"We have been wanting do to something like this for probably a couple years. And last year, we were looking to actually kick this thing off and have the the event last September 2017. And early in the year, last year, had a one of my managers had an accident and was out of work for a couple of months. So we were a little short handed. So we decided to push things back and hold off for about a year. And during that time, I had some resources and some people have known that worked in the concert business and just good music fans in general, we kind of put together a small committee of like minded individuals started working on it. So this thing came together really a couple years ago, in 2017 about a year out maybe we started to kind of be a little more serious with the organization."
2. Who all has been integral in the development of the fest?
"Stephanie Garcia, Marketing Director at the House of Rock, she's also our Box Office Manager, we wear a lot of hats, but she's been with me for about six years. And she helps other festivals she helps me out with the Fiesta De La Flor (another music festival in Corpus Christi) has helped with the organizing and coordination type stuff and marketing.
Lance Greenwood is another guy who has been integral and is actually an oil guy, but is a music man that I have known a long time. He worked at the Concrete Street Amphitheater a few years back as well. I've got one of my old interns, Grace Castanera. Grace was an intern here for a while, and she went to the University of California Berkeley for music and she's got her degree and she spent some time working for a label in Europe, then she came back and she's a teacher now. So she's she's also been helping out.
Jonathan Bailey, just a die hard music fan and passionate about music and he's been to a lot of festivals and just kind of somebody kind of sits in and helps us sell sponsorship, and also brings to the table just some general knowledge of how other festivals work and how he's seen things promoted and what's worked, what hasn't worked, in his opinion as a fan.
Heidi Hodva, one of our partners with the Corpus Christi Music Office. I've worked with her certain events in the past, she pretty much runs the entire Fiesta De La Flor. That's kind of our short group that we have a few other people like my Production Manager Matt Martinez, who is starting to come in more as we work on logistics".
3. Can you explain the process behind securing the lineup for the festival and how far out do you begin this?
"We started putting offers earlier this year, we started kind of shaking a little bit and really started really putting offers out around March/April time frame and through May and had everything locked up by June or the majority of bands locked up through June."
4. Was this process more difficult given that this is a new festival?
"So as a venue , the House of Rock has got some longevity and a reputation of being a good music venue. I'm not just flying for bands for bands. So it wasn't wasn't a rough time getting people to answer our calls, necessarily. But yeah, anytime you do an event for the first year there's questions, so I was a bit of firm believer that no matter if you're booking and just one concert or a festival, you know, it takes history in the venue and history as a promoter history as as the spot you're doing it before people really start to grasp what it is that you're doing. So yeah, there's also questions about it. But it wasn't very hindering of what we're looking to, you know, one of the beauties of doing it here at House of Rock and keeping it indoors this first year is, you know, we're in an intimate venue, and so that the types of bands we're dealing with a lot of them, we've already had relationships with just from previous dealings, a lot of agents, we've had previous dealings with. So it really came together quite nice and excited. It's been good. And, you know, we've got two more spots to fill. But they are going to come from Battle of the Band winners, we've got a couple of more bands we're getting ready to announce here within the next month or so, and we're still getting interest from bands from around the state that want come and be a part of it. So that that's always encouraging."
5. What steps are left before the first day of the fest?
"We pretty much have the production secure, we've got marketing in place. But you know, the marketing campaign is a little bit fluid, we're constantly doing social media posts and updating our website. We've got some plans to announce some new shows coming up. We're also going to start talking about the VIP packaging and T shirts and posters, koozies, most of those things are designed if you need a little bit of tweaks the finishing touches but you know, getting those physical items ordered. There's a lot of logistics to work out we still are at a point where we are reaching out to all the bands and letting them know how to get to the venue, where to park, and loading/unloading. Lucky for us once again with being our 13th anniversary, Matt Martinez as much and has been with me now for you know, around seven or eight years,he's no rookie, he's pretty pro and making sure things run on time. So a lot of that's happening.
So you know, we're also keeping in mind that we went to grow next year. So we're always thinking about things now with what we could have done earlier. So next year, we can improve upon the system so that's happening right now. We're still looking for sponsors. We've got our main stage sponsor and our our host hotel sponsor, and we've got some good partners in the community and a few smaller sponsorships we are still interested in selling to people, that would be a good fit. Whenever we seek a sponsor, we are not hard salespeople, we want to make sure the organization is a good fit for us, it's a good fit for their business, you know, they get even turn on it. So it's trying to kind of work through that as well".
6. Is there anything else you would like the followers to know?
"Yeah, one of the coolest things we did was sat around for a few hours with a white board and some cocktails, and threw some ideas out for a name, and it's kind of hard to find something that you want to live with forever. And ¡OtraFest! came from the term otra vez which is the Spanish term for "again" or "one more time". So we thought given that there are so many festivals the name was cool in that way "it's another festival ¡OtraFest!" but also from the standpoint about the potential longevity of this being something that happens every year, its ¡OtraFest!.
Also, all of the acts are from Texas so we're excited about that, you know Texas is just a music rich, state always has been and always will be. There's a wide variety of bands here. So we feel like we kind of picked a model that we can live with happily, you know, throughout the longevity of this festival, however long that lasts, whether it's a year or 20 years, I think we'll be able to kind of go back to that same well and plug in Texas music. So that's something we're pretty excited about as well."
FMI on¡OtraFest! visit: www.otrafest.com.
FMI on House of Rock visit: www.texashouseofrock.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @HouseORock.
Part 1 of our Behind the Scenes ¡OtraFest!