Man, got the second year down. It almost killed us, yet again. It really fascinating how a festival lasting three days can take 10 months to put together. We knew that was the case, but that doesn’t make it any easier. But ultimately, it was again a blast. Comedy Film Nerds had a great show with Bonnie McFarlane and Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, who is hilarious by the way.
It was so much work, and also so rewarding that I told one of the other founders, Dave Anthony that I wanted to both thank him and strangle him for involving us in this endeavor that started over 2 years ago. If year two was any indication, year three will be even bigger.
One of the things we were most proud of was the Squarespace Podcast Lab. We wanted all podcasters to be involved in the festival, even if they weren’t officially programmed. So ANY podcaster who bought a pass could bring their gear and record from the lab throughout the entire festival. And celebs like Marc Maron and Aisha Tyler were very generous with their time and went to the lab to do interviews with anyone who was there.
But at the end of the day, it felt good to be at the beginning of something. Podcasting is relatively new, and we are the first Podcast Festival. And we hope to always be the biggest and best, but also encourage podcasting and other festivals as everything helps the cause.
But this year was a little different. We had more fans, more podcasts, and sponsors like Squarespace, Daily Motion and Mailchimp really stepped up and made the event a success. Media companies still don’t get it, as they didn’t care to have a presence there or tried to get some free sponsorship. REALLY?! Nice try. It may have taken us 20 years, but we’re on to you.
And more importantly, we are getting to the point that we don’t need media companies anymore. They used to be gatekeepers and control all types of entertainment that you saw. This was supposed to broaden out with cable, but it didn’t really. Now it has. Artists can go directly to their fans now. And where the fans go, the money goes. Sponsors are going directly to artists now. Who would have thought we’d hear so many commercials on podcasts a few years ago?
Podcasting has proven that media companies need to rethink their business models and become partners, not gatekeepers. We’re not there yet, but when Netflix keeps getting nominated for Emmys and kickstarter makes funds available to filmmakers, video game designers, comic book creators and many other artists, the message is slowly but surely getting through. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re headed in the right direction. I can’t wait.