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Published: 2010/09/10
by Sam Davis

Life Is Good This Weekend

When you chose to go into the music side of the business, did you have a specific genre you were going after? It seems quite a few of the bands you guys have at the festival are geared more towards the college crowd like Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, OK Go and Guster. Was that a direction you were trying to take or is that something that just came about on its own?

Well, I think your points are certainly honest there, but we’ve got Mavis Staples which doesn’t really fall in the same genre. I would say Galactic is a different genre altogether. You know, it’s New Orleans funk and I think it attracts an older crowd. I think Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is slightly different. The target is much more of a psychographic than a demographic – it’s really inclusive, rather than exclusive. So, yes we want the college crowd and there’s no question we want them, but we want them side-by-side with soccer moms and that may not be a space that they think they’re used to. But I think we can make it cool for everybody, you know. I think we can have great music and cold beer and still not be offensive, and have an active life style too. We’re going to have a BMX stunt show, we’re going to have football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, street hockey, wiffleball; you know, we’ve got the Big Apple Circus there for kids. So, we’re not going after one demographic or another. One of the biggest points we’re trying to make is that it takes all kinds, it takes all kinds to do things. And, we welcome everybody. We’re about optimism and seeing the glass half-full. Even the surf and skate market is real important to us and we do a lot of business there.

Seeing as how Boston is not exactly known for its “festival scene,” do you think Life Is Good will attract a unique crowd, or do you feel it will be similar to some of the other festivals that you’ve been to?

I think it’s going to be extremely unique. I think Boston is starving for an event like this. I mean, we’ll certainly find out this weekend but ticket sales are very good right now so that tells us something… I think in general within the music industry you get a fan base of a type of music, and if its jambands you get a crunchy jamband crowd, you know what I mean?

Uh-huh.

And if it’s metal, you get a metal crowd. And I think if you look across the genres of music, there’s seven or eight tremendously different types of music there and they bring different crowds and I’ve watched what Facebook fans have said since we’ve launched the lineup and it’s really interesting – there’s really rich dialogue – because it’s sort of like what do these bands have in common, and they kick around different ideas, but somebody hits on it, someone eventually [hits on it]. This guy last week was a BC student it was his first day back in Boston, he’s a sophomore, and they were going back about their reasons why these bands were selected and he said “No man, it’s because everyone of these guys celebrates life” and he nailed it, he absolutely nailed it. And you know, I know he’s just a young guy, but to me I was like wow, I sent it out to a bunch of different people and said “See what this kid said? It’s right on the money.”

So is that sort of the motto for the festival: a celebration of life?

Yeah! Absolutely it is. You know, our whole theory with the clothing line from the beginning and the same with the kids foundation, and again, it’s kids that have faced the worst shit you can imagine, our whole theory is that whatever you focus on will grow. So you can focus on the trauma, and the violence and the poverty and the illness like cancer, or you can focus on the bright side and it can really help these kids. And so, putting money into play therapy, and building their confidence, and getting them outdoors. A lot of these kids are from the worst neighborhoods in the country, you know. And, that’s the same with the festival. It’s like all of these bands focus on what’s right with the world, rather than what’s wrong as oppose to say the six o’clock news. You know, there’s no such thing as the six o’clock news anymore it’s the six o’clock violent murder report. And we’re also not saying those things don’t happen, they do happen, but good things happen too. Good is not only more healthy and enjoyable to focus on, it’s empowering.

One hundred percent of the festival’s profits will be donated toward the Life Is Good Kids Foundation. You’ve touched on it a bit, but can you elaborate as to what exactly it is that the organization does?

Sure. This is exactly what we do: we develop training programs for childcare providers who deal with children in life-threatening situations. So, you might have poverty and violence on one hand, or you might have oncology departments. But you’ve got people who are dealing with these kids on the front lines everyday; we develop training programs for those people so that they can give those kids a better chance in life.

So you essentially enable the people who have the ability to enable the kids?

Exactly. It started a non-profit…a non-profit called Project Joy started a long time ago focusing directly on the kids and that non-profit has now merged with our kids foundation and it’s been renamed as the Life Is Good Playmakers and we’re scaling that organization reaching more kids by focusing on the childcare providers.

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