Who says that dreams don’t come true?
My heart is still bursting with love and excitement after my dream of three years incredibly came to complete fruition at Wakarusa festival in Arkansas. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would get to tell my story on stage with one of my heroes. The more I think about it, the more it is clear that there was no other way this could have unfolded.
Here is the video. Below is the crazy back story.
Before I go into further detail about this amazing experience I need to provide some background to explain how truly epic it was for me.
Flashback to June 2010, and you would hardly recognize the Tucker Gumber you see today. I had just gotten out of a relationship and was really struggling to make friends after four years of living in Los Angeles. After finally meeting some cool people at a concert they invited me to see a band called Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the Jimmy Kimmel show. I had never heard of this band so I looked them up, and what I discovered was beautiful; you could hear their spirit in every song. Seeing them play live was simply heartwarming. Sharing this experience with new friends was a really special moment for me; I had finally found my crew.
Fast-forward to March 2011: My uncle called me to say that Edward Sharpe was playing at the first ever Snowball Music Festival in Vail, Colorado. I had never been to a festival before and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new. On a whim one of my new friends and I traveled to Colorado for the festival. We made it to Snowball at sunset, which was just as Edward Sharpe was starting their set. Seeing the band live at sunset, in the snow and surrounded by happy people is where I fell in love with music festivals.
Festivals and the sense of community they provided was everything my life was missing. I made it to 10 more festivals that summer, and realized that this new passion was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided to leave the security of my old life, and committed to learning about festivals and trying to find ways to improve them.
Fast forward to the present day, and I have now attended and reviewed over 50 festivals, which total to over 200 festival days.
By going to so many festivals it became clear that there were two major challenges that festivalgoers across the country faced:
1. Festivals are more fun when you go with a big group of friends, but there is no easy way to determine which of your friends are going to each festival.
2. Festivals are best when you know the lineup, but there is no easy way to listen to all the artists on the bill.
To fix these problems I created an app called FestEvo that is essentially an all-in-one social media platform; it gives festivalgoers the ability to see which friends will be at each festival, and lets users listen to every artist on the lineup.
After spending a year developing FestEvo, we launched the app a couple weeks ago. The launch went smoothly, but it became clear to me that I did not really know how to launch a mobile app. I went to Wakarusa festival with no real plan on how to get the idea out to my audience.
On the third day of Wakarusa, I made my way to the main stage to catch my beloved Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. As the show began I was filled with fond memories of past shows. It was then that something dawned on me: Edward Sharpe front man Alex Ebert often asks the crowd if they have any stories to share with the audience during the song “Home”. In between songs I managed to get Alex’s attention, and told him I have a story to share. He said that he would hook me up. I believed him.
I went through the rest of the show thinking about what I was going to say. I realized that not only do I have an unbelievable story to share, but that it really was about how my life would not be anything like it is today without Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
When it was time for “Home” Alex came over and asked me to tell my story. I was shaking with nerves. This was a true storybook moment for me. I got up and described how this band had changed my life by showing me this world, how I then left my previous life to follow my dream, and how them letting me have this moment on stage was again changing my life. The crowd was roaring, and by this point I could hardly breath. Alex got up, gave me a hug, and asked me to play a tambourine. This was the biggest moment in my life.
So there you have it. Check it out and give FestEvo a download.
It’s free and by downloading it you will give yourself the tools you need to have the best possible time at your next festivals. You will also be helping a dream come true.
You can also follow my adventure through the following social sites. I still have some tricks up my sleeve that I believe are going to improve the festival experience we love so much.