If there’s anyone who knows a good music festival, it’s Tucker Gumber. The 32-year-old music lover quit his job to become a full-time fest-goer in 2011 and hasn’t stopped traveling since.
You may have heard of him and his blog, The Festival Guy, as he’s funneled five years of experience into a handy how-to guide for organizers, fans, and artists alike. He’s compiled that understanding into FestEvo, a free app designed to “help you festival better.” To celebrate its launch, he’s teamed with Mysteryland, Snowball, and more on a special FestEvo ticket giveaway.
“I think it’s special that they came together to do this,” Gumber says. “They’re helping a young entrepreneur and something they think is positive for the community.”
To register, FestEvo users must complete a simple list of tasks, such as following the fests on social media, then enjoy the benefits of the app community, which include everything from ride-shares to personalized schedules, and more.
FestEvo’s applications are directly inspired by Gumber’s own travels, which began shortly after his first visit to Snowball 2011 in Colorado. He was just another college graduate floating in a corporate job while his degree in restaurant and resort management collected dust. The upside was, his company paid extra for hours spent reading sales and business development handbooks.
Gumber’s second festival was Coachella. It was there that his degree and corporate reading showed value. He saw how the fan experience could be improved, so he quit his 6-figure job and spent his savings traveling the country, rating and reviewing each festival on his website, thefestivalguy.com.
By 2013, he’d visited 28 festivals. He was ready to take his usefulness to the next level. He dedicated himself to identifying and solving a major problem in the festival community. He returned to Snowball and headed to South By Southwest, but it was after the festivals ended that he got his wish. He’d found that many of his friends and even family members were at those same festivals. They were posting about their experiences on social media, enjoyed some of the same sets and shows he had, and yet they didn’t run into each other once.
“It was a major bummer,” he says. “It’s such a waste to think you could have been 30 feet from someone you went to high school with, or a cousin, or who knows. I realized this has happened dozens of times at this point, so, that’s a problem.”
FestEvo’s first incarnation was a simple RSVP app meant to ensure that music lovers never missed a festival connection, but as Gumber continued his travels, the applications – and the difficulty to achieve them – continued to expand. Take the time he discovered TEED at Sasquatch, for example.
“It ended up being one of the most epic shows I’ve ever been a part of,” he says. He was so moved by the dance party, he started looking at lineups from his past only to find he’d missed TEED and other favorites at tons of festivals throughout the years.
FestEvo grew to allow direct artist discovery. Fans can listen to an artist’s music via Soundcloud, YouTube, and Spotify without ever leaving the app. Users rate artists on a five-star scale and automatically follow any artist ranked with five stars. The app builds custom schedules for each festival you attend, color-coordinated to show which artists are must-sees, and you rest knowing you’ll never forget or miss a moment.
“You need to know who every artist on the lineup is, because you just don’t know who your new favorite act is going to be,” Gumber says. “The more you discover them, the more you can have a history with them.”
FestEvo also hopes to encourage a greener festival experience with it’s Leave No Trace +1 initiative. The idea is simple; if you promise to clean up after yourself and one more festival-goer, there will be far less garbage littering the fields.
“When you leave your trash on the ground, it’s affecting my festival,” Gumber says. “I believe if we get half the crowd to participate in Leave No Trace +1, the festival will be spotless.”
He’s also using the FestEvo website as a way to raise money for Collin Taylor, his good buddy and celebrated festival photographer who can’t raise funds for equipment because he spends earnings on rental cameras and lights. Taylor, aka Live Edits Lab, has toured with Big Gigantic, GRiZ, Michael Menert and more, and his passion to work hard in the face of financial hardship is something to which Gumber relates.
“I drive an ’88 Subaru station wagon,” Gumber laughs. “I’m not some rich kid traveling around. I’m some guy that freakin’ is gonna do it no matter if it kills me or what.”
If FestEvo can help Taylor, that’s great, but if it helps you festival better, that’s best of all.
“What makes festivals special is not the lineup, it’s what the lineup does,” Gumber says. “By the time you are left of the sound booth at your favorite band, the people all around you have made so many of the same decisions that these are the people you’re most like. That’s why so many people make new friends and everybody says their life was changed. It was changed because you met all these amazing people that are going to be in your life going forward.”
For more information on FestEvo and to sign up for the ticket giveaway, head to FestEvo.com