Needtobreathe Rocks Converse’s Music Business Practicum

NeedtoBreathe tour manager Dustin Reynolds talks with Converse students

Ah, the glamour of rock ‘n’ roll. The sound! The lights! The screaming crowds! All those songs you scream along with! No experience like it—except when you get to experience some of it up close and behind the scenes.

Converse College’s Music Business & Technology Practicum spent most of a Saturday, Oct. 6, and into that evening at Greenville’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena with superstar band Needtobreathe and several venue staff members, including one who’s a Converse alumna.

The seven MUB 102 students also toured the bowels of the 16,000-capacity venue. There, they ran into several the guys from the band, including Bear and Bo Rinehart, who later played to some 5,000 adoring fans.

Down backstage, amid the cavernous, gray-walled loading zone and dressing rooms, Practicum students met with Dustin Reynolds, the tour manager on Needtobreathe’s Forever on Your Side Tour.

Converse College’s Music Business & Technology Practicum spent the day at Greenville’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena with superstar band Needtobreathe and several venue staff members, including one who’s a Converse alumna.

Dustin discussed the complexity of such huge tours. On the arena floor, he showed off the mind-blowing array of sound and light gear. Afterward, he explained CAD (Computer-Aided Design) plans for the band’s amazing staging and so much more.

The Greenville show was the band’s penultimate concert in a 37-city tour that even People announced last August. The magazine quoted Bear, the band’s charismatic lead singer and guitarist, as saying:

“When we wrote the song Forever on Your Side, we were thinking of our fans who have been with us since the very beginning.”

John Jeter, an adjunct professor in Converse’s Petrie School of Music, was among those. As co-owner of a Greenville concert venue, The Handlebar, he booked the band for some of its earliest shows; the Rinehart brothers attended Furman. used his own entrepreneurial experience, contacting longtime contacts to arrange the Practicum. (Incidentally, Needtobreathe’s agent, who Skyped with the Introduction to Music Business class in Fall 2017, also represents 21 Pilots.)

At the beginning of the day, students also engaged with the venue’s production manager; box office manager; the guy in charge of switching out shows (he and his crew had to prepare for Kevin Hart the following night; and Sydnie Hickey, Class of ’15, who now works as Marketing Assistant on the venue’s 23-member staff.

More than one staff member told the students that despite long hours, they loved being part the live-music experience, getting to watch fans have the time on their lives.

Students saw that, too, when they purchased tickets to the concert that opened with two fantastic opening bands. The Rocketboys, from Austin, Texas., kicked things off at 7 p.m. Next up: Johnnyswim, the Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife duo of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano, who happens to be the daughter of the late, great Donna Summer.

From beginning to end, the entire day and the huge show that topped it off turned out to be, as one Needtobreathe hit song says, Something Beautiful.

For more information about how to enroll in the Music Business & Technology program, contact Professor Jeter at

This article was written by Professor John Jeter. Photo credit John Jeter.

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