Written by Emma Brooke Alley ’25
The students didn’t know what to expect going into their Concert Promotion & Venue Management class on the first day of the Spring 2023 semester. Little did they know how much they would get their hands dirty in the music industry as they collaborated to create a show, book the talent, promote the show, and sell it out.
In February 2023, FR8yard, a popular venue in downtown Spartanburg, was secured for the show — then the rest was up to the students.
“We worked hard to make sure every single detail was ironed out,” says Contemporary Music and Media Applications major Emma Brooke Alley ’25. “This included the creation of a show, graphics, tickets, reaching out to bands, promotion, pop-up ticket sales, and the day-of-show rush.”
The students worked as a team to find exceptional Upstate talent and struck gold with local rock favorites Lovely World, Parris Bridge, and Ill Intentions.
As the Concert Promotion & Venue Management class planned the show, they aligned it with a cause near and dear to their hearts: Converse’s Valkyrie Supply, which provides food and essentials to students. The concert raised $400 for Valkyrie Supply.
“My favorite part about this experience was partnering with Valkyrie Supply and being able to donate to their cause,” says Jetta Turner ’23, a Healthcare Administration major.
Contemporary Music and Media Applications major Jasmine Humphries ’25 says, “Valkyrie Supply was a great charity to donate to, and we raised a great amount to help them grow their inventory for Converse students.”
After more than two months of work, show day finally arrived. Wednesday, April 19, was unforgettable: perfect weather, positive energy, rockin’ music, a lot of memories, and hearts full of pride – with some 300-plus in attendance, including Converse students and faculty.
Fay Bullard ’23, a Contemporary Music and Media Applications major, says, “It’s amazing to me what we did as a small class with no experience behind-the-scenes. We were incredibly prepared and the hard work paid off.”
Humphries agrees: “This show was well thought out and well-prepared and also received extremely well by the roaring crowd that exceeded our expectations. I was very pleased to be a part of something so successful,”
Adjunct Instructor of Music Business, Professor John Jeter, has overseen nearly a dozen student-run concerts over the last four years. “I love these shows,” Jeter says. “Students learn how hard concerts are to put on, but when their work’s done and the crowd’s rockin’ out, there’s no feeling like it. The students see all those people having fun, and they get to say, ‘Wow, we did that!’ That is so fulfilling, and I think you find that same kind of fulfillment in any career when you love the work you do.”
Alley calls the learning experience unforgettable and the Music Business & Technology class unique because it’s so hands-on. “As a singer and professional artist,” she says, “it is important for me to learn the ins and outs of the music business – and experiences like Rock Solid prepare me to become the best music businesswoman I can be. With so much involvement in the real-world music business and working with performing artists, you can’t get this knowledge and experience anywhere else.”
Bullard summed up Rock Solid this way: “The bands brought the heat. We supported our fellow students and a Spartanburg business – the FR8yard – and we were able to give back to our Converse community. And we rocked out while we were at it.”
The Concert Promotion & Venue Management class is a component of Converse’s Music Business and Technology certificate. The certificate explores what happens behind the scenes of a concert, how bands are booked, and the business aspects of the music industry. Read more about the Music Business and Technology certificate at Converse.