Music festivals are one gigantic party. Their magic lies in their ephemerality: They pop up for a weekend only to disappear, leaving behind memories and a hankering for the next round. (After some much-needed rest, of course.)
When you think of festivals, you think of the music, the art, the food, the street style, and the other attendees. What you don't necessarily consider is the mass of people and minds that go into executing the whole darn thing. You shouldn't, really, because like good design, a festival's BTS crew goes unnoticed. The escapism a festival provides is paramount and ensuring it all goes off without a hitch or commotion is key. All of that requires brilliant, agile minds. And the minds behind Los Angeles' Air + Style festival are some of the most brilliant and agile because setting up a 16-story snowboard jump complete with snow in the middle of downtown Los Angeles is a feat in and of itself. To make it seem totally normal alongside acts like Major Lazer and POWERS is astonishing. Yet, Air + Style's team, which is led by a sizable number of women, did it.
Oh, you thought it was men running things, huh? Well, that is so not the case. As it turns out, women are making festivals happen all the time, with more opportunities opening up all the time. Sound like something you'd like to be a part of? I spoke with a handful of the minds that made Air + Style L.A. the success it is to get their stories and, hopefully, inspire more girls to join the fun. Who run the world, right?
Emily Ockenden, Festival Director
At the age of 15, Emily Ockenden entered the music industry. From the production side, she worked her way up from being an intern in her home country of Australia to starting her own freelance company in 2015 in Los Angeles. "I asked around until I found myself a nighttime job in the music industry and went from there," she says of her past balancing a full-time athletic career with a passion for music. "You have to be willing to hear the word no and not get upset when you do hear it," she says. "Expect to be shut down multiple times before you get the yes you’re looking for." For her, it's all about perseverance. "Just do it," she says. "It’s not a man’s world like you think it is—especially in America. Be prepared to start from the bottom and be prepared to get dirty and keep asking. That’s what I did until someone said yes."