This weekend I had the pleasure of witnessing the massive event that was Camp Flog Gnaw. For those that aren’t aware this is a huge carnival and festival put on by Tyler, the creator in Los Angeles. It is similar to Coachella.
I was impressed on multiple levels. The first was that it is black owned and produced. The second was the massive amount of people that attended. The third is the ridiculous prices that were charged that people willingly paid.
Tickets to get in started at $250 for the weekend. VIP was $1000. The cost of food was heavily inflated and people still paid.
Another thing that impressed me was the level of organization that was in place and the technology that they implemented. The festival had a partnership with postmates and square so people could pay at all vendors using debit card and even apple pay. They could also order their food in advance with postmates, show up at the booth and pick up their food avoiding the line.
In regard to organization, the even was organized by BBCB, an organization that runs festivals like Coachella and the like. They were constantly monitoring the restaurants and bars to make sure everything was in tip top shape in accordance with the policies even down to making sure that all booths had two lines working and not just one cashier. Overall it was a massively successful event.
Aside from all of that, here are three takeaways that I took from this entire event that can apply to your business.
Grow as you go
CFG didn’t start off booking Dodgers Stadium. They didn’t start off selling $250 weekend passes. The event started off as a free block party that Tyler created to promote his album release.
From there it has grown and grown to the point that they can charge what they want and still sell out.
People will overlook this but to me this speaks to what black people can achieve if we just create and produce and stop looking for validation or worse talk ourselves out of doing the very things that other cultures do.
Many of us will look at Coachella and say we can’t get there because we don’t have millions but we still don’t realize that Coachella didn’t start out as Coachella. Everything that is big started out small. Tyler’s carnival which might actually be better than Coachella in the amount of top acts that performed and the location of the venue (Los Angeles not some far away place). After all location and talent carry the festival.
Making money off more than music
There are a lot of rappers out there doing the same things. For some reason black folks tend to think they can’t make money unless they are doing the same thing that other black people are doing to make money. This is why when real estate is hot everyong runs to real estate. When bitcoin is hot everyone runs to bitcoing. Same is true for rap and entertainment.
I think this is silly.
This carnival showed that you can make a fortune striking out and being the maverick. Before Tyler no rapper was doing this and if we are being honest they would have probably laughed if you tried. The things is that your brand is bigger than just dropping albums. Tyler shows this.
Too many of us sell ourselves short by doing the things that every other black person is doing instead of forging our own path. When you do this you ruin it for you and you ruin it for them. This is why shopping centers and malls don’t have ten coffee shops or ten drug stores. At that point you have over supply which then makes the entire endeavor unprofitable for all involved. This is why football players can’t strong arm team owners. This is why rappers don’t really make money. There is an abundance of talent that is easily replaceable because we are all trying to fit in the same door. Instead of trying to do what other people are doing, use your creativity to create what has never been seen and then walk into abundance.
Opportunity for friends
One of the best things the festival does is creates opportunities for Tyler to promote his friends. When you build and opportunity you are forced to include others. When you beg for an opportunity you are forced to do it all without the help of others.
Tyler has a carnival that is better when his friends perform yet they benefit by performing. This is why business is so important.
People like Jaden Smith and ASAP Rocky and Kids See Ghosts all benefit from the exposure because black business is a quid pro quo.
In closing, I was very impressed with the Camp Flog Gnaw production but I was actually more inspired than anything. To see a black owned festival shut down Dodgers Stadium is a testament to what we can do when we don’t let others limit us with their opinions. I was very impressed with the Camp Flog Gnaw production but I was actually more inspired than anything. To see a black owned festival shut down Dodgers Stadium is a testament to what we can do when we don’t let others limit us. Not only was it done on a large scale but it was done well on a large scale. The implementation of technology and the organization was impressive. I encourage you to start working on your own CFG without the opinions from outsiders. Do the work and be great for something that is bigger than you that will impact more people than just you.
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Thanks for reading!
Be great, invest well,