We Talk With Nikki Copenhaver, Co-Owner/Marketing Director for Mad Mountain Music Festival About Their Upcoming Event in Shell, Wyoming Featuring Lucii, TVBOO, Veil, Notlo, Tyro, and many more.
Interviewed by: Garth Jones
Welcome back Mad Mountain! We are thrilled to have the chance to get to talk again, as always!
Q1: For the unknowing readers, attendees, and your soon-to-be fans; what can you tell us about Mad Mountain Music Festival, and why it is so unique?
A1: Mad Mountain Music Festival is founded in our passion for sharing the music and the moments that connect us. Our mission is to unite major talent alongside local and upcoming artists in a spectacular mountain setting to create a unique and immersive festival experience. Loosely based on an Alice In Wonderland theme, the atmosphere at Mad Mountain creates a place to let go of reality and enter a trippy, dream-like state as you take in the beautiful mountain air, the music, the art, the vendors and activities we have in store for a weekend unlike any other.
What sets Mad Mountain apart from major festivals and events happening across the country is we are a small, local business, as opposed to some multi-national corporation, and we are not in this project to get rich but rather create an incredible experience to bring people together, share the love of the music, and make friends and memories. When you purchase a ticket to Mad Mountain you aren’t putting money in the pockets of millionaires, but helping provide our team with a down-payment on a home, a new car seat for a growing baby, and put food on the table for our families. Every attendee at Mad Mountain will personally get to meet and shake hands with the owner, get to know us and become part of our Mad Mountain family. What started out as a group of friends setting up speakers out in the woods to play music for each other has turned into a vision we want to share with music-lovers and festival-goers everywhere, and we can’t wait to have our attendees out to our home here in Wyoming to experience the beauty and the music that holds such a special place in our lives and in our hearts.
Q2: Last year was your debut launch of the fest! I was there in person and had a blast! What do you plan to do differently or better this year compared to last?
A2: Mad Mountain Music Festival 2020 was the first event of its kind in our beautiful state of Wyoming, a place where live music fanatics and the EDM community have been long awaiting a scene of their own. As a second year festival, we have expanded our vision from last year to include several major headliners and the full festival experience featuring live music from a variety of music genres alongside bass music artists and producers; multiple new retail and food vendors; costumed live performers, dancers and flow artists; art installations; interactive workshops, games, art projects and activities; a silent disco provided by Headphones Only Party Systems (H.0.P.S), and an upgraded stage design and sound production for our main stage provided by Potent Productions.
In addition to electronic music producers we have added a jam-band showcase with a major regional headliner, Jalan Crossland, and bands including Wolf Creek Revival, Wreckards, The Recent Future, and Buffalohead, along with some very talented rappers and hip-hop artists for our hip-hop showcase including Pocketbook Prophet, Bone-C, Tyler Ray, Sighcosis, Simmi the Profit, Young Fredrick, Vanteslayedit, For All Mankind and more to bring some variety to the stage.
We’ve got a bigger main stage for 2021 with better sound production, a second stage has been added, and we’ve also added an early-access pre-party on Thursday night (August 12th) to allow attendees to show up early for the weekend and camp an extra night plus catch the exclusive pre-party concert, which is going to be a very special event. Mad Mountain 2021 will have bigger headliners and better amenities all around this year, as well as a brand new, breathtaking and much more spacious venue, Antelope Butte Mountain Recreation Center located in the Big Horn Mountains near Sheridan in Northern Wyoming. Antelope Butte is a community funded non-profit facility that operates as a ski resort during the winter months, and we will be operating the ski lift during the day throughout the weekend as well to provide rides to the top of the Big Horns to take in the views.
The VIP package option has also been added this year, and is definitely the best way to experience the festival at a bargain price with free access to the Thursday pre-party, free ski lift rides, artist meet and greets, complimentary drinks from the beer garden (21+) and free merch package, plus access to the VIP area all included.
Several artists put Wyoming on the map this year with some exceptional events earlier this summer including CloZee, Charles The First, and Subtronics at Terry Bison Ranch near Cheyenne, and we are excited to take the Wyoming music experience to a fully immersive camping festival setting at our beautiful mountain-top venue with tons of added amenities and activities.
Q3: We have some examples here of what attendees had to say last year. How does this make you feel and does it allow you to feel better knowing there was such a great reaction?
A3: Getting positive feedback from our first ever festival gives us primarily an overall feeling of relief that we were able to pull this off and give our attendees a smooth and memorable experience. This is only the benchmark and we’ve learned and grown immensely from where we started with the concept for this festival, with only more to learn as we continue to aim higher. There are always challenges behind the scenes but knowing we were able to overcome and deliver in year one gives us momentum to prepare for and overcome additional obstacles for future events. We are thrilled to have so many of last year’s attendees returning for year two, we know they’re going to be blown away by the changes and upgrades we’ve made and how the event has grown.
Q4: Can you give us the inside scoop on the selection of artists this year compared to last? I see some new and returning up and comers on the ‘Road To Mad Mountain Mix Series’ lineup for our SoundCloud. What else can you expand on?
A4: We are very dedicated to bringing our local and regional up-and-coming artists to the spotlight and showcasing their talents, and many Wyoming artists/artists from the area will be returning for Mad Mountain 2021. If you haven’t heard of these artists making up the smaller names on the flyer, the ‘Road to Mad Mountain Mix Series’ is your chance to give them a listen and get a preview of the sounds they will be bringing to the stage this year. Our regional supporting artists taking part in the Road to Mad Mountain Mix Series include K!NG TVT, Kylloe, Shmeeka, Crimxan, Lakye, Feefa, Big Redd, Game Over, Spillz, Trip Hvzvrd, Coenica, Soul.Method, SafariParti, KDUBz, Otatop, Spenny, Jotunn Dubs, and Gravity Rift. If you haven’t heard music by any of these artists we highly recommend checking out the mix series and their respective SoundCloud/Spotify pages, each are making huge moves and are sure to be big names in the scene very soon.
This year we also held a remix competition for up-and-coming producers to earn a chance to join our lineup by submitting a remix of a track called “Lost Touch With Reality” produced by our festival founder and owner, Coenica. The submissions were all creative, well produced, and so impressive it made it very difficult to select only two winners, so we expanded our lineup to include four winners from the remix competition: Cephas, Nocturnal, Gravity Rift, and Siklok. These guys are amongst the many underrated talents we will be showcasing and we can’t wait to see the crowd’s reaction to their performances.
The most exciting thing for us as organizers of this event is creating the opportunity to place these talented artists who are on the rise on a lineup alongside some incredible and well-known headliners, and this year we have Lucii headlining along with Tvboo, NotLo, VEIL plus a special VEIL b2b NotLo set, along with Godlazer, RC3, tsimba, and our returning headliner Tyro. Our lineup is a great fusion of all genres ranging from heavy dubstep and riddim, house music, experimental, trap, and everything in between to give attendees a ton of variety, not to mention the sounds of the jam bands playing Saturday who will bring everything from rock to bluegrass to alternative, and of course the phenomenal hip-hop artists and rappers performing throughout the weekend.
Q5: Bringing a major festival to the open and vast countryside of Wyoming is no easy challenge or feat. What sort of skills, ideas, or qualifications does this require to pull of, successfully?
A5: Wyoming is the least populated state in the nation, so not only is promotion crucial to grab the attention of attendees but also making sure the venue is accessible and suitable for the scale of the event, which is why we’ve upgraded to our new location. The festival is taking place on a mountainside so beautiful and unique it deserves to be shared with the masses, as do our talented artists on the lineup for this year. We’ve had to be very creative in getting the word out about the event both locally and nationally, one of our more interesting promotion tactics was a parade float at a major event here in Wyoming, the Sheridan, Wyoming Rodeo Parade, where we had several artists playing music and banners with the event info, art installations, and lineup on the float.
Networking has also been crucial to the success of our event, and we couldn’t pull off a festival of this nature without the hard work and dedication of our friends, volunteers and affiliates [looking at you, Monsoon Season :)]
Q6: At the end of the day, when the last song drops, and you see the evening wrapping up. What sort of areas in the night do you find to be the most rewarding? What puts the biggest smile on your face when the show is coming to a close?
A6: The biggest reward will be getting to know the fans and attendees who make our event possible and seeing smiles on their faces. Seeing our talented local and regional artists just beginning to make a name for themselves on stage as supporting acts for our bigger headliners is incredibly fulfilling, and we are honored to be able to provide a platform to share the sounds of rising talent with our festival attendees and fans. Mad Mountain is a very special event, and we are looking forward to 2021 and beyond as we continue to grow and build a lasting legacy in the scene, right here in beautiful Wyoming.
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