‘I manage music festivals and I dropped out of college’

Would you like to casually get paid to go to festivals

Cody Crawford, 25, attended Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida from 2008 to 2009. After dropping out at the end of his sophomore year, he now runs his own production company and is stage manager for festivals all over the country.

On Sunday mornings, you can hear him working sound at Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Constance Free Church. Being the church’s production director, he oversees all of the lighting and visuals for each of the multiple venues. This summer, though, you will see him backstage and all over multiple festival venues while being the stage manager of Creation Fest.


When and why did you drop out of school?

I received a scholarship for two years of free tuition at Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida, which is now called Florida Southwestern State College. After my scholarship ran out, I didn’t want to pay for school. I knew I wanted work in the live entertainment industry, but there aren’t many good accredited programs to get into the business. It is more of a meet people and build your name type of work, so that’s what I did.


How did you get started in festival management and the music industry? 

I started playing music in church when I was a teenager. I would play drums, sing and help run sound. If something broke I would figure out ways to fix it. I grew up in a small town and when I was 12 our church went to Wilmar Kentucky for a large music festival called ICHTHUS. It was my first experience at a large festival/concert. When we got there and I saw all of the production gear and people working behind the scenes to make it happen I knew that’s what I wanted to do.


What’s it like to manage festivals like Creation Fest?

Managing the music portion of a large scale event like creation is like nothing else. There are hundreds of emails and phone calls made making sure vendors for sound, lights and staging are secured, staff is scheduled and contracts are signed etc. There are lots of politics involved, so you have to make sure you are playing your cards right, and that is the most stressful part. Festivals are lots of long hours in hot or rainy weather and it takes a huge toll on crews, so making sure everyone stays somewhat happy and performing to the best of their abilities is a very stressful thing to do. However when your final artist of the night hits the stage and you see 40000+ people smiling and creating memories and creating moments with their favorite artists that they will never forget. Knowing that you are the one making it all possible from a logistics/ planning side makes it all worth it.


Do you regret dropping out?

There are times that I have thought “what if”, but I definitely don’t regret it. My other career path choice was to go to culinary school and open my own bakery/ restaurant.


Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years I see myself doing what I am now, but on a much larger scale. I would love to help others find their passion for doing what I do. Maybe be settled down, too.