by John Jeter, Lecturer in Music Business
You may hear folks say, “Don’t sweat the petty,” when a huge job includes so many details that may seem too small to worry about. But you will never hear that from Converse College Music Business students (MUBs) who produced their own rock concert, “Free Fallin’ For Petty.”
Sarah Goulette entertains the crowd Three students—Shannon Ferguson, Miranda Godfrey, and Sam Seay—handled every detail, from the petty to the near-impossible, to put on a record-breaking show that paid tribute to rock ‘n’ roll icon Tom Petty and raised funds for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The students’ Dec. 15, 2017 concert at Tipsy Music Pub in Greenville capped their Music Business 102 Practicum, which is part of Converse’s Music Business & Technology certificate program. The course serves as a deeply immersive lab in real-world concert promotion.
And what a show it was. To a packed house, each of the seven student-booked bands performed well-known songs from Petty’s rich catalogue, as well as some originals. Music major Sarah Goulette, a singer-songwriter, played host throughout the three-plus-hour show, which also featured 4 Out of 5 Doctors, the band that includes Converse’s Dr. Scott Robbins, Dr. David Berry, Dr. Keith Jones, and former Converse professor Dr. Ron Boudreaux. Alumna Kayla Goller not only coordinated one of the bands, Buck Shoals, but also provided stage gear from the Guitar Center.
Shannon Ferguson, Miranda Godfrey, Tipsy Pub’s Stephen Scott, and Sam Seay The place was packed, rockin’ out with 338 ticket buyers, setting an attendance record for the venue that had just opened in October. In the crowd: President Newkirk, who personally greeted each of the hard-working students.
Throughout months of preparation, and during the show, the mighty MUBs dealt with everything from researching, booking, and coordinating all the bands; handling the stage setup, including drums, guitar amps, mics, and cords; creating and distributing posters; printing and selling tickets; and promotion and marketing.
They even appeared in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Greenville Journal, and on WSPA’s Scene on 7. They were well-prepared. The students were also enrolled in the Introduction to Music Business course.
During the Fall semester, that class met, via FaceTime or in person, such guests as the agent for TWENTY ØNE PILØTS; the managers for needtobreathe and the Avett Bros.; a former Universal Records executive; a record producer for major-label bands; and a young Greenville violinist who now plays in the pit in Hamilton on Broadway. Yes, the threesome did sweat the Petty, earning them a place in Greenville music-scene history and in the Converse College Music Business “record” books—but, remarkably, throughout the exhausting evening, none looked as if she broke a sweat at all.