My name is Tucker Gumber. This website is the culmination of a slew of random events and a big urge to do something different, something big. I would rather be broke and happy than rich and bored, though the goal is to be rich and happy. This is my story.
Chapter 1: College
After graduating high school I headed to Colorado State University. I decided on Restaurant And Resort Management as my degree with the idea of running a ski resort or a golf course, which were my two main hobbies at the time. Once on campus I discovered KCSU, the college radio station, and immediately fell in love with it. I was DJ Hollywood on the radio from 4am-6am every Tuesday during my first semester. It was during this time that my love of music took control of my life. My friends and I would drive to Denver, Boulder, or even Colorado Springs to see concerts. During my four years in college I attended over 100 concerts and eventually moved my way up to being the Music Director of the radio station. It was my job to decide what music was on the radio.
At the end of my sophomore year I met a girl who eventually became my first real girlfriend. We dated for a year when I asked her to marry me at the young age of 21. It’s funny how you always seem to think you know everything at the time, just to look back and laugh at how clueless you really were.
Chapter 2: The American Dream
After graduating from college in 2006 it was time to start completing this “American Dream” (graduate college, get married, move somewhere, get a job, buy a house) I had heard so much about. The week after graduation I got married to my girlfriend of two years, and two weeks later we moved to LA so she could become an actress. Once in LA I found a job on Craigslist, and I soon started selling video conferencing for a company called MegaMeeting. I was the tenth employee and was the first one to figure out the sales process. Three months later I was the company’s top sales rep and was promoted to Sales Manager the following year. During this time I read countless sales books, and they all had the same conclusion, sales is not tactics – it’s attitude. If you have a great attitude, people will want to do business with you. By applying this and continuing to master my trade, I was able to buy my house in LA at the age of 24. American Dream accomplished! Right?
By the time I was 26, my wife and I had grown apart and filed for divorce. (Personal opinion: people under 25 should not get married; if you are going to be together forever, what’s the rush?) I realized that the American Dream was not actually my dream at all. I wanted a life that was more Indiana Jones than Office Space. I was not content with where my life was. I had been in LA for four years and while I had found great success financially, I still had not been able to develop a solid friend group and even found myself being awkward socially since I had not been building new relationships the previous four years.
Chapter 3: I know I can (I know I can) be what I want to be.
I decided I was going have a new dream. Instead of focusing on making money, I was going to live life the way I wanted to and become the person that I wanted to be. That week I went golfing with Dale, one of my only LA friends. He brought his friend Alex with him and I could tell Alex was a solid guy. During our round, Alex mentioned that he and his friends were going to Flugtag, which is a Redbull sponsored event that has teams attempt to fly their custom made craft off of the Long Beach Pier. When Alex said he was going, I did something that I never would have before, I asked if I could go with him. This was super hard for me to do, but I did it. He said I could, and because of it I met his best friend Mike and his girlfriend Lauren. Alex, Lauren, and Mike instantly became my new best friends. I had found my group.
Now that I had a little group of friends, LA became a lot more fun. A month later we went to see our favorite band, LCD Soundsystem, at the Hollywood Bowl. We were in the nosebleeds in the second row when in walked 8 people wearing these incredible animal hats. I had never seen something so cool and unique in my entire life. We introduced ourselves and found out the hats were called SpiritHoods. After dancing our asses off all night our two groups had become one. I now had the friend group that I always wanted.
Two weeks later, I got my own SpiritHood. Wearing it made me feel like I was cool, unique, and different in a good way. When we would go out people would come up and talk to me, which was what I needed. During the next six months I matured into the 27 year old that I was.
While all of this was going on, I was still killing it at work. I was even beginning to start a new branch of the company. To learn how to do this I read a book called Crossing The Chasm, which guides entrepreneurs through starting their business. The moral of the story was: Don’t be good at a lot of things, be the best at one. This life lesson would mean a lot to me in the long run.
Back to my life. In March 2011 I went to my first festival, Snowball Music Festival, held in the snow in Colorado. While I was waiting in line with my friend, I could not get over how fun the people around us were. It was like we were all friends. Once we made it into the festival and I saw two stages filled with thousands of dancing people, I realized what a festival was. I looked at my friend and said, “I was made for this.” After three days of making friends and dancing to some of my favorite artists, I was filled with gratitude for what can only be described as the best weekend of my life. It became clear that festivals were three day vacations that thousands of amazing people take at the same time. This is what my life was missing.
When I returned home to LA it was time to take what I had learned and prepare for Coachella, the next festival, which was only two weeks away. Coachella 2011 is going to go down as my big “Ah Ha” moment. Words cannot describe how much fun I had. Everything about this festival was mind blowing. The stages, the people, the art, the music, all combined into an experience of pure bliss. These three days are the favorite days of the year of thousands of people, but no one seemed to talk about it. During my three days I made friends with dozens of people and the conversation always seemed to start with my SpiritHood. People had never seen them so it was a world class conversation starter.
By the time the festival ended I had some time to reflect. I once again had the best weekend of my life for the second time in two weeks. I had also made new friends that were going to be in my life forever going forward. My life was exactly what I wanted it to be and it had only been six months since I met my friends with the SpiritHood. That SpiritHood had been so important in helping me build confidence and make friends that I wanted to share it with other people. I decided I was going to write a blog for my friends website www.TalkNerdyToMeLover.com, and if SpiritHoods would repost it, what if Coachella reposted it? BOOM! The idea to start a website about SpiritHoods and loving life hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to help other people give their life a makeover just like I had.
So I started a website called the Yay Life Tribe. I would blog about making the decision to be happy, living your dreams, and the different adventures that I would go on with my SpiritHood. People started reading the blog and responding with how it was helping them see the world in a different light. It was working. To promote the blog I went to more festivals. I went to Lightning In A Bottle in Orange County and Bonnaroo in Tennessee. I even started selling SpiritHoods.
As the blog grew my numbers at work started to go down. All I could think about was new ways to reach new members and the possibilities of showing the world that dreams are made to be followed. It became clear that I was going to have to make a decision. Keep the job that paid me well into the six figures, or head into the world with nothing but my belief that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
I was struggling with this idea over Chinese food. Could I really leave that job that had been so good to me? Could I end this new website that meant so much to me. It was then that I opened a fortune cookie that would change my life forever. It said,”Now is a good time to take a risk, you will succeed.” This was all the sign I needed. So the next day I quit my job.
It was time to get serious. I crafted a full festival schedule to go promote the heck out of my group. I made it to three more festivals over the next month and the growth in the tribe was substantial. Every festival I went to I would make more friends that were excited to help along the way. It was working.
Now the financial ramifications were a little harder than I had really thought out. At this point I had sold SpiritHoods to most of the people I knew so it was getting harder than expected financially. I was on my friends boat in Marina Del Rey and was completely negging out, saying that I thought I had made a mistake. At this point something in the corner of the room caught my eye, it was a fortune cookie. I asked if I could have it and he said it was really old but I was happy to. I opened it and the fortune said, “Your present plans are going to succeed if you stick to them.” So I quit complaining and decided that I am going to make this work no matter what.
The next months flew by and I managed to attend a total of 10 festivals, including a trip to Burning Man. During this time I met a group of people that were completely on the same page as me. This group would become my one of the highlights of this entire adventure. I suddenly had more friends than I knew what to do with. (The dream came true)
As I continued my festival adventure, I did better and better as I went. It turned out that there was a lot to learn about festival life. It also became clear that not all festivals are created equal. Some festivals would be a magical experience, while others with the same ticket price would not be nearly as well done. I saw a need for someone to review festivals from the fan’s point of view to help other fans know which festivals to go to.
As 2011 came to a close, it will go down as the year that my entire life changed. I had grown from a guy who was socially awkward into a guy who was helping break other people out of their shell. I also went from my richest friend to my poorest. Sadly not all good things last. In January 2012 I received a notice that I was being sued by a company with a similar name for trademark infringement. I was aware that they existed, but I was naive in thinking that being the Yay Life Tribe was different enough. I could not afford the quoted $50,000 in lawyer fees, so I had to end the tribe. This was a tough time for me, but thankfully I wholeheartedly believe that everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to.
At this point I had two options. 1: Continue doing what I was doing but with a different name. 2: Take what I had learned over the previous year and start something else. I loved what I did with the Yay Life Tribe, but I needed to create a real business before I could try and change the world. I thought back to my days of reading Crossing The Chasm and concluded that there was not anyone who had stepped up in the festival industry. I decided that I was going to become a festival reviewer. I didn’t want to just be some guy, so I searched GoDaddy.com to see if TheFestivalGuy.com was available. To my amazement, it was. It was available on Twitter as well. I registered the domain that day and started making plans to really become The Festival Guy.
Now you can’t call yourself “The Festival Guy” with just one year of festivals under you belt. So I decided I was going to move out of my house and volunteer at festivals across the country in exchange for free tickets. Between March and December I attended and reviewed 18 festivals. While volunteering, you really get to know the back end of the festival. I ran info booths, helped with parking, clean up, and anything else the festivals would need. With each festival I would also learn more and more about ways that the festivals could improve and things that could be done to improve the festival going experience.
Along with festivals I attended conference EDMbiz and The International Music Festival Conference, which helped me meet important people in the industry. Attending panels at these events has proven invaluable in my quest to learn everything I can about the industry.
By the time 2013 rolled around my website had enough clout to warrant press passes. I now go to festivals for free in exchange for the review and a weekend full of tweets and Instagram posts. With every festival I continue to meet and befriend more and more people and learn more and more about the festival industry. In 2013 I attended 19 festivals, bringing my total to 47 in three years.
At this point one of my friends pointed out that this was my destiny. Just look at the initials.
The Festival Guy
Now in the last three years I have gone from an insecure guy with lots of money and no friends to a guy who has friends for days and no money. I can also say that I am the happiest person you will ever meet. I’m ready to take everything I have learned and create something that is going to improve the festival experience for the fans, the artists, and the festivals.
Chapter 4: Introducing FestEVO
Last March I attended a week long festival called South By South West in Austin. I had a great time hanging with my Austin friends, but I was really bummed out when I discovered that I had 4 different friends at the festival and we didn’t even know each other were there. This is not the first time this has happened. So I decided to fix this festival problem and create a website where everyone goes to see which of their friends are going to each festival (Facebook doesn’t work in this situation, as there are not group events for festivals with tens of thousands of attendees). Once I started mapping out a way to fix this problem, it dawned on me to fix all of the other festival problems that fans encounter.
The power point presentation goes into more detail about what FestEvo is all about. What I can say is that I know it is going to a tool that benefits festival goers, festivals, and artists. By benefiting all of the parties involved we will be able to create a better festival community.
The ceiling on FestEvo is completely limitless. If done correctly, this could be the next billion dollar app. What’s more is the opportunity we have to unite the festival community. FestEvo can make it cool to pick up trash, recycle, and even donate to charities. Imagine if everyone who went to festivals donated $5 a month to a charity that used the money to create change. It’s big. It’s possible.