Creating solutions to festival problems.
FestEvo isn’t a company whose sole intent is to profit off of the festival industry. It was founded by Tucker Gumber, an entrepreneur who gave up a safe and successful career to follow his passion and live a life as his truest self: The Festival Guy.
Tucker’s fearlessness in pursing his dreams was instilled at a young age by his family. His grandfather, for example, had lofty ambitions of becoming a pilot which eventually led to a successful career in flying for American Airlines. Tucker’s Father dreamed of protecting the environment and spent his career doing just that as a Colorado Division of Wildlife officer. There was no shortage of tenacity in his upbringing.
Tucker as King of the Palisade Peach Festival. Age 6
Raised by a family of outdoor enthusiasts, he learned to fish, golf and snowboard. Through these activities, Tucker discovered the importance of community as well as the different sets of etiquette unique to each hobby. Protecting the environment was especially engrained into him as it was a linchpin in his family’s beliefs.
At 16, he discovered his favorite pastime: road-tripping with friends to see live music. When he began attending Colorado State University, he worked as “DJ Hollywood” for KCSU Fort Collins which introduced him to up-and-coming artists and gave him access to free concert tickets. During the span of his four collegiate years, he attended over 100 concerts; An internal fire had been lit.
After graduating with a degree in Restaurant and Resort Management, he moved to Los Angeles where he got hired as a sales rep at MegaMeeting, a video conferencing company. They paid their employees to read sales and business development books giving Tucker access to dozens of useful resources.
Inspired by philosopher, writer and speaker Alan Watts who said it was “better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way” as well as author Malcolm Gladwell whose book Outliers: The Story of Success proposed that doing something for 10,000 hours would make you an expert in that field, Tucker was approaching his calling.
He finally reached a tipping point after reading Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, which explained that successful businesses are the first to recognize a niche and solve a problem for that community.
Then it happened. The aha-moment, the epiphany, the catalyst, the summoning: he went to his first music festival (Snowball 2011). The people, the music, and the return to the outdoors was everything his life was missing. Soon after, he attended Coachella and his larger-than-life experience made him recognize that festivals were not just an activity but a lifestyle. He had found his niche.
Following his intuition, he quit his job and spent his savings on festival passes across the country. Ten festivals later — including Burning Man — he launched his website www.TheFestivalGuy.com where he would review festivals in exchange for tickets. Unlimited access to tickets gave Tucker the ability to spend his year bouncing from festival to festival while learning tips and tricks along the way.
His goal for 2013 was to create a solution to a problem faced by FestivalGoers. His first problem occurred after Snowball Music Festival when he discovered that he had missed a friend who had also attended. The issue repeated itself at his following festival, SXSW. This led to the creation of a mobile app that allows FestivalGoers to RSVP to various events. First festival problem solved.
The next stop was Sasquatch Festival where Tucker stumbled across a group called Totally Enourmous Extinct Dinosaurs who immediately became one of his favorite artists. After the festival, he researched the band and was disappointed to discover that he had missed them at Snowball Festival the month before. Had there been a more convenient way to research festival lineups, he surely would have discovered this band — along with many others.
This is when his idea for an RSVP app morphed into an all-in-one tool that allows FestivalGoers to listen to every artist on the lineup, RSVP, find rideshares, meetups, directions and exchange tickets. Tucker was creating a resource that the entire industry needed. Thus FestEvo — short for Festival Evolution — was born.
The first version was completed in 2014 yet required patience to use as SoundCloud and Spotify did not allow their technology to be built into other apps. This lack of technology paired with software bugs hindered its success, despite that fact he managed to get on stage at Wakarusa Music Festival with his favorite band, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, and share his story with their 20,000 fans.
Continuing his mission to improve festivals, Tucker partnered with Vendini Publishing and 12 industry leaders to create The FestivalGoer's Bible which provides event producers with the necessary information to create a festival that achieves both success and longevity.
FestEvo continued to evolve and by 2016, Tucker pivoted from an app company to something much bigger. He was no longer creating just an app but rather a platform that provides the festival community with the education, technology, and products they need (and didn’t yet know they needed).
June of 2017 finally marked the 10,000 hour milestone that Gladwell claims is needed to become an expert in your respective field — Tucker’s being music festivals. He finally had enough experience to articulate what he’s been chasing all these years.
Growing up a proud fishing, golfing, and snowboarding enthusiast, Tucker recognized that festivaling was also an outdoor hobby which brings people together. The more of it you do, the better you get and the better you get, the more fun it becomes — for you and everyone involved.
Festivaling has yet to become officially recognized or branded as an outdoor hobby. As a result, there has never been etiquette publicly established or a company that provides enthusiasts with products catered to their needs.
FestEvo is now a membership reward platform that incentivizes fans to discover new music through the app, purchase festival gear, and interact with their community. Membership also comes with a download of The FestivalGoer's Guide which teaches proper festival etiquette and encourages FestivalGoers to become the best and most respectful attendees they can be.
This is the part of the story where we get to put the aforementioned books to the test. Tucker found something he loved and did it for 10,000 hours. He recorgnized a niche and solved a problem for the community. If the books were right FestEvo might just change the entire industry. Not bad for a guy who just wanted to go to festivals for a living.
Bonus: One last video if you are still reading.