Season 2 – Episode 20: John Dougherty – Keep Your Attendee In Mind At Music Festivals


This week I am talking with my long time friend John Dougherty who is the director of Lifest Music Festival in Oshkosh, WI and Nashville, TN. We are talking about his rise through the ranks from a stage hand to the man in charge of one of the largest Christian Music Festivals in the country.  Also, we are discussing the importance of being kind to festival workers when you are an artist performing at a festival and the steps you can take if you are interested in working at a festival.

PLUS: Lifest is back in business this summer after having to take 2020 off.  I will be performing, hosting a stage, interviewing artists and hosting a LIVE version of the podcast and you can be there! WI – July 8-11, 2021 and TN – July 29-31, 2021. you can get a $5 discount on Adult Full Event Tickets by using the coupon code: JMK at checkout. Go to for details. I hope to see you there and meet you in person!

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at

In this episode we talk about:

*Being the director of Lifest Music Festival, one of the largest Christian music festivals in the country.
*The Christian Festival Association. 
*The importance of becoming a member of the CFA if you run a festival.
*Owning your own gear, lighting and sound system so you can run shows for you and other bands.
*Having a business mindset even as a teenager.
*Reinvesting in your gear to build a better set up.
*Working your way up the ladder working at a festival.
*The job description of a stage manager at a festival.
*What a production manager does.
*What “buying” production means.
*Making sure the attendee gets the best experience.
*Check your ego at the door.
*Keep your attendee in mind.
*You can make a living outside of a major music city as an artist, producer and/or festival.
*The promoter books bands to play the main stage.  You won’t get a main stage slot by sending an email.
*Personal connections are so important.
*Promoters are checking out your social media to see if you are talking positive or negative about your previous venues.
*Be positively engaging your audience.
*How you get paid to play a music festival.
*What determines if you get to play again the following year.
*Stage managers are the gate keepers.
*The importance of being kind to lower level workers.
*Everything you do can make or break you.
*If you want to work a festival, take any job that is offered to you.
*How to get a job working at a festival.

John Dougherty grew up in Appleton Wisconsin and has stayed a home town boy. He has played drums most of his life and has toured with various bands around the region while building his production company, Welcome Place Productions, which offers sound and lighting for bands and other shows. 
He also works for Life! Promotions which envisions a place where youth can express and celebrate their faith in a positive and safe environment. John is the director of Lifest, an outdoor music festival, which allows the entire family to come together for worship, fellowship and teaching with more than 100 Christian artists and speakers. Lifest is one of the largest Christian music festivals in the nation.