Odyssey’s Scene: An Interview with Chris Marsh, Promoter for Mayfest (21 May 2016)


A very interesting, behind the scenes perspective on what it takes to put on a large show like Murderfly’s 5th Annual Mayfest.

Odyssey: Hi Chris! Very nice meeting you and glad to have you with us. I know you are very busy with Mayfest and appreciate you taking the time to tell us about the show.

So, tell us a little about yourself as a promoter, Chris Marsh Productions and your passion for Florida music.

Chris Marsh: Chris Marsh Productions was founded on providing the best shows possible with the best bands possible. I have been involved with the local music scene for 17+ years, I’ve toured, I’ve pushed road cases, worked large festivals, have used new music promoter software like Prism.fm, know all the tricks of the trade and have seen and done pretty much everything a true promoter should do, including driving the miles to promote this event.

Odyssey: How did you get involved with Mayfest? How does it compare to past years? Do you have any cool stories from past events that might give our readers a feeling for what to expect?

Chris Marsh: I got involved with MayFest by my good friend Tim Greear. He is the bass player for Murderfly. I had taken some time off from local music to get my life together and he asked me to come hang out at a few local shows. I then met the band and saw what they could do at a venue in Downtown Cocoa, made some recommendations about doing bigger shows elsewhere, the next thing I know, they are doing shows all over Florida. I’ve been working with them ever since. As far as The 5th Annual Mayfest, well, It’s the largest show we have put together. These shows used to be on a Friday night, but, this time, we were able to get a Saturday. That means more time, more bands, more fun. As far as stories, well, During the 3rd Annual MayfestThe CD release Party for Murderfly, doing one of their songs, part of the ceiling insulation fell out. It was so cool to see the roof come off.. Literally. Plus, we had around 1,100 people in attendance. That’s never been done before at any local music show I know of.

Odyssey: How many people are expected to attend this year’s show? How should people get tickets for the show? Will tickets be available the day of the show? Please give us the ground rules for attending the show (what is allowed/not allowed, etc.).

Chris Marsh: Well, we have 10,000 tickets made up, 11 bands are promoting along with myself and other sponsors. We are expecting an estimated 1,200 people as this show will be unlike any other. It has 11 amazing bands from all over Florida. What better show to attend. Tickets are available from all the bands and select sponsors. No ticket, its $10. if your under 18, please have a legal guardian, and I do believe there is a small fee for under 18, but for me, I’d still pay. There’s only one main rule, and that’s NO MOSHING. Due to some past incident, they do not allow it, plus, being all ages, kids, etc…

Odyssey: How are bands chosen for such a large show? Are there any other responsibilities they take on besides playing and helping to promote themselves and the show?

Chris Marsh: When it came down to the bands for this event, we had a few things to consider. first, who’s available? Who’s got a draw? Who can bring 100 people to this show? Who hasn’t played at Mayfest yet, etc. There are several other things Murderfly and I discuss, but it’s what best for the scene and the show. We want to bring as much talent to one location so when everyone goes home, they will always remember that show. As far as band responsibilities, it’s like any other event. Show up early, stay til payout, the usual stuff. Mainly promote the show.

Odyssey: What do you look for in sponsors? Who are your sponsors this year? Any other notable people involved behind the scenes and what they do?

Chris Marsh: When it comes to sponsors, we try to not only reach out to the past sponsors, but also ones who were unable to work with us the year prior due to other commitments and such. I keep a list handy when looking. As far as the sponsors this year, I ask you to go check out the event page online and see them all for yourself. It’s too long to type..lol. As far as people who help out behind the scenes, I have some amazing and highly talented individuals who give a lot. Dennis from Volusia Graphics for designing the tickets and posters, 321 Printing of Melbourne for a quick turnover of 10,000 tickets, and Noel from Global Rapture for helping put together another awesome promotional video.

Odyssey: I understand that there will be a big veteran presence. Please explain. Any other groups involved (charitable organizations, etc.)?

Chris Marsh: Yes there will be. I am honored to have the AVET Project on board, helping military veterans and families, The USMC Recruitment Center of Melbourne will be on hand, I have Chachi’s Café Food, owed and operated by Charlie– a disabled Army veteran, and a few other things..

Odyssey: Please give us a 360 degree view of what a promoter faces for a show like this (tickets, posters, printing, sound, staging, band prep, etc.) that most cannot appreciate. How long does it take to pull off a show like this?

Chris Marsh: Wow, what does it take to put Mayfest together.. Well, here’s an outline.

You have to start scoping out bands, checking out talent, supporting local shows and see who’s doing well in the area. Then you have to make a list of available bands which can be up to 30-50. Once that’s done, you find out what time do doors open and when can you start playing. You have to acquire a sound system for the event, start locking in bands, setting up a timeline for them to perform, draft up contracts for sponsors, the event location, and others wanting to be involved. Then, after narrowing down bands, confirm with them the date is set, get their band logo, also get sponsor logos as this is taking place, submit info to graphics guy, start working on the promotional video, wait on the final design, find out a logo is wrong, get it fixed, sponsors have a deadline to pay sponsorship, get final design off to ticket press and ensure its valid for print, have posters printed, launch final draft of video and share, get tickets in the mail, count out tickets per band and sponsor. Then, mass distribution via mailing or becoming a road warrior and hand deliver, all while doing radio interviews, meet n greets, sponsors change their schedule so you have to go back another day, and that’s most of it so far.. until show time which includes doors opening, setting up the venue, bands loading in and back lining, sound checking, band meeting before show, getting stage hands ready and ensuring everyone is on their game and ready to perform in front of the largest local crowd know possible. Then, end of night, when the last band is done, start packing up, await the payout and ensure everyone had a great night. Then, it’s off to Denny’s for breakfast!

Odyssey: I know some of the back story about the venue but please tell us about the significance of it since this may be the last year that this show is possible.

Chris Marsh: I’ve had the distinct honor of doing 9 shows, including this one, at The County Line Saloon. The location itself is a Prime spot for concerts. Unfortunately, after Mayfest, the venue will be closing down and relocating, which, neither dates or new location has been mentioned. So, Until then, we still plan to make this a HUGE event. Plus, this was the 1st Venue I did my 1st show at back in 2012. After this, I will pretty much be left with no other option but to move on. I have ideas and possible locations for future events, but that’s just ideas for now.

Odyssey: Any ideas and/or plans about continuing the show past this year?

Chris Marsh: As I said earlier, we won’t know when or where the next one may be, but if it does happen, I’m not sure if I will be able to be involved due to prior obligations. There are some very talented Promoters out there and I know one of them can definitely help out with my approval..lol

Odyssey: How would you define the goal of this show and you considering it a success?

Chris Marsh: The goal of the show is to leave the fans with a memory that will last a lifetime. Something they will always want to come see again. People will talk about this show when its over for a long while. We just want the fans to enjoy a great show and the bar itself to sell out completely.

Odyssey: Do you have any other upcoming shows on the horizon we should look out for?

Chris Marsh: Alikour Productions, LLC and I are currently working on a local music documentary in Orlando featuring 5 bands. These bands are Murderfly, SoulSwitch, Traverser, Meka Nism and Vertebreaker. The documentary will have a show in itself. location to be announced soon.

Then we work on another documentary. This is just 1 of 5.

Odyssey: As is the case for all Metal Nexus interviews: the floor is open to you (parting words, other things you would like to share, rants, etc.).

Chris Marsh: Support your local music scene. The local bands are the reason national bands exist. We give them a stage to perform on as they did before becoming a national touring band. I will always be available to chat with you, your band, your ideas of becoming a local music promoter and you can reach me on my Facebook page. Chris Marsh Productions

Again, thanks Chris! Keep it rockin’, man!

Mayfest Facebook Link

Murderfly’s 5th Annual Mayfest

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About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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