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How Working in Live Music, Engineering and Management with Bartending Experience Makes You a Great Festival Producer: A Chat with AURA Music Festival's Daryl Wolff

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Taraleigh Weathers

Daryl Wolff is not only the executive producer of AURA Music & Arts Festival, Festival Administrator for Suwannee Hulaween + Purple Hatter's Ball and Technology Coordinator for the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, but he is an amazing human being that spews inspiration out of every pore of his body. I've only heard wonderful things about the events he is a part of and because of that I had to pick his brain for all of you to enjoy.
Taraleigh: What was your big why for founding AURA Music Festival? 2016-02-18-1455814640-8472967-a.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455814640-8472967-a.jpg Daryl: I've always been a huge music lover and I have a long background in business. After years of working different facets of the biz including performing shows, sound engineering, management, bartending and a bunch of other ventures, I decided that combining my experience in all of these areas would be fun. Of course, when we started AURA, it was before the big boom of festivals that we know of today. At the time, I was looking (along with our friends at Orange Blossom Jamboree) to start something that not only hosted nationally touring acts, but also supported the up-and-coming jam scene talent. The first year it was WAY bigger than we expected, and we were just inclined to continue on the journey.
Taraleigh: When you combine all the things you're awesome at AND that you love to do into one thing you can't help but be successful. Thank you for stepping into your power and totally rocking it! I love that you support the up-and-coming jam scene talent because all the big bands were up-and-coming at one point. You never forget those who believed in you when you were first starting. What makes AURA different from other festivals?Daryl: I think one of our differentiating factors is that almost our entire staff has grown with us from day one. AURA began around the same time that most of our crew was just getting started in the business, and now these same people work on major festivals and tours around the country and abroad. This has created a bond between all of us and we're all like family now so the festival operates very smoothy, which translates to a great guest experience. Another thing I'm very proud of, is that for a festival of our size, we have the some of the best audio and lighting production available.
2016-02-18-1455814714-7472989-aa.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455814714-7472989-aa.jpg Taraleigh: Amazing! I go to a lot of festivals and I can feel it when the staff truly loves each other. It makes my experience better. When in the process of throwing AURA, what
was one golden nugget of advice someone gave you?
Daryl: Don't take ANYTHING personally which is easier said than done!
Taraleigh: Yes! Not taking anything personally is something I work on everyday. How do you maintain a life/work balance?Daryl: For me, this has always been a challenge. While AURA and my commercial property management career in South Florida take up an enormous chunk of my time, I also share a large administrative role in Suwannee Hulaween, Purple Hatter's Ball and I manage festival technology operations at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. I jokingly say that music is my escape from music, so for that, I have Phish tour!
Taraleigh: I truly believe that Phish tour is one of the best places to find balance. See you there this summer. I'm sure your events do that exact same thing for people. What's lighting you up the most right now?Daryl: I try to broaden my horizons as much as possible when it comes to music. One thing I've always tried to do is find out about the newest and most talented bands. The fact that so many of bands I love are exploding right now makes me light up (i.e. Papadosio & Dopapod!) Papadosio played the first six AURA's and Dopapod played five out of six. We love those guys.
2016-02-18-1455814770-9718032-aaa.jpeg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455814770-9718032-aaa.jpeg Taraleigh: Oh hell yes! I love those bands soooooo much. I'm grateful they've been a part of your family from the beginning. What a blessing. What are you most grateful for in this moment?Daryl: The health of family, friends, and myself. In addition, being alive in such a great day and age for awesome LIVE MUSIC!
Taraleigh :And so it freakin is! What are you looking forward to?Daryl: I'm looking forward to being at AURA and seeing all of the fans with huge smiles on their faces.

Taraleigh: Smiling is my favorite. If you were to tell your best friend about
how amazing AURA is, what would you say?
Daryl: My best friend is my business partner in AURA, so theres usually a lot of hype floating around. (although I should mention he is about to be a first time father, just in time for AURA, congratulations Cameron!)
2016-02-18-1455815775-8040388-aaaa.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-18-1455815775-8040388-aaaa.jpg Taraleigh: Congratulations Cameron! What would you tell your grandma about AURA?Daryl: If I was to tell my Grandma about it, i'd probably tell her that we sold out and made millions of dollars, but just to pull her chain of course!
Taraleigh: Haha! Anything else you'd like to share? Daryl: There are a lot of ups and downs in the music business, especially as an independent promoter, but seeing the festival grow from the ground up has been pretty amazing and I can't thank all our staff, fans, and believers enough.... even in the light of some of the heaviest competition we've ever faced, we're still able to survive and produce and amazing product thanks to all of you!

Taraleigh: Folks, that's what it's all about! Thank you Daryl for not only bringing amazing music to our scene, but for setting the standard for what a festival should look and feel like.
Daryl's favorite healthy snack is almonds, bananas and dark chocolate as well as acai berry bowls. Yum! If you like live music, living the good life and healthy food like that click HERE
Check out this video from AURA Music & Arts Festival 2015

Get tickets to this year's festival happening March 3-5th and learn more by going to AURAmusicfestival.comThe awesome in me sees and bows to the awesome in you,
Taraleigh Weathers


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