Fortress Fest is selling more than tickets to its second annual music festival April 28-29. The festival's co-founders and co-owners, Ramtin Nikzad and Alec Jhangiani, have created an entertainment presenting company, Fortress Presents, and they're inviting the public to buy stakes in it.
“We anticipated this [starting a presenting company] would happen later down the road, but after the inaugural festival, we noticed an immediate demand, so we decided to expand and offer our services,” Jhangiani says. “We see it as a way to strengthen the foundation of our business and the future of Fortress Festival while utilizing our resources and expertise to offer our event planning services to the community year-round.”
An investment of $250 in Fortress Presents gets you a one-day general admission pass to the festival and a 5 percent discount on additional passes; $500 gets you a two-day pass, a 10 percent discount and other benefits. Higher levels of investment offer lifetime and/or VIP backstage passes.
“Crowdfunded investing is a new kind of platform that taps into a very powerful resource,” Nikzad says. “When you look at the results that companies big and small are seeing with this tool, it’s something you have to take seriously. We spent a lot of time researching and ultimately decided it would almost be negligent not to try it, especially considering the type of business we’re in.”
Nikzad and Jhangiani hope that crowdfunding will help them to grow a base of people who are both literally and figuratively invested in the success of the festival. These small-time investors will become ambassadors for Fortress Fest and create a "by the people, for the people" atmosphere.
Nikzad and Jhangiani say the experiment has been successful so far.
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“If we continue the current trend, we will have no problem exceeding our minimum goal,” Nizkad says. “Most importantly, however, we hope this comes from a wide grassroots base. We see this as a way to attract a diverse community of people that are invested alongside us in realizing the full potential of Fortress Festival.”
As far as production of the 2018 festival goes, Nikzad and Jhangiani say they have addressed some of this year's concerns. For example, construction that caused problems this year should be finished by April.
Nikzad and Jhangiani say to expect the 2018 Fortress Festival lineup announcement in January. Last year’s lineup included big-name touring acts such as Run The Jewels, as well as popular local acts such as Cure for Paranoia, Sudie and Sam Lao.
“We take programming very seriously, and it’s important to us to continue to put together the strongest lineup we can every year,” Jhangiani says. “That can mean a lot of things like the profile of artists, more diverse overall, more in tune with our audience, as well as challenging expectations. We hope to progress in all of these areas.”