This week on the Mobile AL Business Podcast, Marcus sits down with Florida native entertainment lawyer, Gabe Fleet, and a neurosurgeon from New Orleans, Ted Flotte. What brought these two together? Music and Mobile Ladies. With the ever-growing sense of excitement for what Mobile is turning into, Gabe and Ted led the way for an annual community festival called SouthSounds. You can lend an ear or read by following along below!
Gabe: My name is Gabe Fleet. I'm an entertainment lawyer at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and I am also the co-chair of the SouthSounds Music and Arts Festival.
Ted: I'm Ted Flotte. I'm a neurosurgeon here in Mobile. I'm the other co-chair of SouthSounds.
Marcus: Welcome to the podcast, guys.
Gabe: Thanks for having us.
Marcus: If you had asked me three years ago that I was going to be sitting in the office talking to a neurosurgeon and an entertainment lawyer about a festival in downtown Mobile, I would have called you crazy. But I'm really excited to have you both here to kind of tell your story and also to share with everyone what is going on with SouthSounds. And I had a chance to talk to you, Gabe, a couple weeks ago and learn a little bit about your story, but I want to get some of that for the audience as well. Why don't we start with you and just kind of give us some background: where you're from, what you do, where you went to school, that kind of thing.
Gabe: Yeah, sure. I'm originally from the Gulf Coast. I'm from Fort Walton Beach and I played music since I was a very young ... I was gigging out in little jazz trios at 11 or 12-years-old. Music's always been a big part of my life. After college, I went to Georgia undergrad, after that I played professionally in some jangly, pop rock bands. We slept on couches of friends and kind of toughed it out for a few years, then I went to law school at Vanderbilt and kind of married all of those things together.
Marcus: Never heard of ... What school is that?
Gabe: Vanderbilt in Nashville. I went there and I had long hair and they were like, "Well, who do we let in? Who is this kid?" But I had gone to the school of life for a few years and that was helpful. Then when I left, I joined the firm that I'm at now. It's a law firm called Greenberg Traurig and I've been with the firm about 10 years. I'm a partner in our global digital media entertainment group. Everything I do relates to the music business in some way. I represent talent, a lot of high-profile talent, lots of [baby 00:02:02] artists we try to bring along as well, digital media companies, large consumer brands, and help them navigate the music business. It's a really diverse practice. We were living in Atlanta and my wife is originally from Mobile. You can take a girl away from Mobile but you can't take Mobile out of a girl or something like that. There's some phrase there, somewhere. But anyway, we eventually were told that we were moving here and the firm was good about allowing me to do this kind of telecommunicating situation. We've been in Mobile for about four years now and I travel a lot for work. I'm in Atlanta for a good bit but for the most bit, at least half the month, I'm here in Mobile and Mobile is definitely home for us since it's where our kids go to school and where we live and where we have a home. Since we've been here, we've become very committed to the community and very involved in the community and tried to do what we can to help the community. I got involved with SouthSounds because I thought it was a way that I could give a little back and bring some skills and some knowledge and some experience that maybe other folks didn't have. That's how I got involved with the festival.
Marcus: Very cool. And how about you?
Ted: Well, I grew up in New Orleans. I'm from New Orleans. It's got a pretty decent music scene there. One of my friends named Ben Jaffe, he owns Preservation Hall, we always used to go hear local music, a lot of it. Very into that. Then went off to school, lived in Birmingham and Seattle and so forth. I always liked to kind of go and find local bands and what was going on wherever we were living. And then also married a Mobile girl and moved here.
Gabe: There's a theme here.
Marcus: There's a theme here.
Ted: Like I was saying earlier, I was here probably about three or four years. I lived over in Spring Hill and just really didn't come downtown but I think I came to ArtWalk and then started going to the Blind Mule and a lot of us got sucked into downtown Mobile. Eventually, in 2011, I was on the Board of the Crescent Theater, Friends of the Crescent Theater. Working with them and was talking to Carol Hunter about, "Why don't we do a southern music festival?" No one was doing that. Emily Hays, who is a DJ at 92z at the time and I put together what's called "LoDa Live" in 2011. I think we had about 12 bands. Next year renamed it SouthSounds and it took off from there. Just all part of, again, getting involved in downtown Mobile between the late 2000's and now.
Marcus: I have to ask the why though? You're a neurosurgeon. Why the hell would you want to start a music festival in downtown Mobile? Was it just like you love music that much or something?
Ted: That's a good question. I love music but also the potential of downtown Mobile. You know, as we're coming down here, like we were talking about earlier, more people need to know about this. More people need to come down here. About 2011, it's hard ... If you remember, that's when Alabama Shakes, they played at Callahan's to 50 people. They took off. Then St. Paul and the Broken Bones was taking off. We had them at SouthSounds. They played a little stage, a little pop-up tent and then they took off. It was right at that time when southern music was taking off. We knew there was a niche there, a possibility of that taking off. It was really just a love of downtown Mobile, a love of southern music, wanting to help the venues out, that we all came together. About that time, I'd just been to South By Southwest. Another thought was like, "Why don't we do it, instead of doing a typical big festival, why don't we do it in the venues? Have it more of a group effort?" With the current city budget, or at the time, really the only way to throw a new music festival was to share the cost of it between all the venues. That's how we started.
Marcus: It came to be. Now, forgive me, that was 2012 when SouthSounds started but 2011 was when you did LoDa Live?
Marcus: So 2012, we're in 2018. This is going to be the sixth year?
Ted: Seventh year, yeah.
Marcus: It's grown. You have 70 bands coming this year. You started with 12 and now you've got 70. Even the logistics of figuring out where are those people going to stay, coordinating all that and the production and all that other stuff. Have you stopped to think about? I'm sure you're just kind of in the midst of it all so it just kind of ...
Gabe: You should see what our inbox looks like right now. Yeah, it's kind of become this sort of thing on its own right. It's definitely grown quickly, particularly over the last three years or whatever. We were pulling some numbers together last fall because we submitted for this international downtown association award which we ended up winning. We kind of tracked that growth from, I think last year we had 84 acts. By the time it's all said and done, we'll end up about there this year. We had 15 venues last year, we'll be at about the same this year, whereas the first year it was 12. It's three days. It's tough to measure attendance just because a lot of it's free and outside but somewhere between 8,000 and 11,000 people last year. It's sort of become a thing. And particularly when you remember it's an all volunteer effort. There's this great board of community leaders, but they're all volunteers. Nobody gets paid. I mean, the venues, they all do it just basically to kind of break even and just keep money, whatever they can. And the festival, it's just really about having an event that everybody can say, "That one weekend, we're all going to pull in the same direction." Right? You have bars and restaurants, you have maybe squabbles or whatever, but that weekend everybody's like, "No, we're all in the same direction. We're all going to kind of do this thing for the good of the community." It's been fun to watch those things bring everybody together. Now you have club owners at each others clubs watching these bands that they didn't hang out before. I think the idea is really to create this tentpole event. We try to have that tent be as big as it can be, right, and make sure we're representing as many parts of the community as we can represent. I mean, southern music is a big category, right?
Marcus: It is a big category and it's growing.
Gabe: But the downside of trying to be as inclusive as we can be is that the logistical part of it starts to be challenging. There's some growing pains there and we don't necessarily do everything perfect but I think we do okay.
Marcus: So you mentioned all volunteers, nonprofit, a lot of people don't know that. I would imagine all the proceeds go back into the event to make it a success for the next year as well.
Gabe: That's right. We operated for the first several years as a special project of the Mobile Arts Council. Then two years ago it had grown large enough, we spun off and formed our own 501(c)(3), SouthSounds Music and Arts Festival, Inc. There's a board and it's a nonprofit and yeah, all the revenue just stays in there. Nobody makes any money. It's all volunteer. We'll pay bands and we pay vendors. Even those guys all do it at pretty steep discounts, particularly the local folks, just to try to pitch in and create this event for the community.
Marcus: You're from New Orleans, or Nawlins, how do you want me to pronounce? No, I'm just playing. I'm not from here. I think I've made that pretty well known on the podcast by now, but you and I just met. So one of the things that was extremely surprising to me is New Orleans has this rich history and culture of music and Mobile ... We like to toot our own horn over here, but when you look at the music scene here, it doesn't have that same kind of vibe New Orleans has. New Orleans is known throughout the world, probably, for it's music and jazz and history there and stuff like that. And for whatever reason, Mobile just doesn't have that. So I think it's very cool that you all are bringing back. Is there something that could be done here or is there something that you all see in kind of the midst of all this that Mobilians should know about the music scene that would help foster it? Make it better?
Ted: Well, I think it's getting there. I mean, it's not going to happen overnight. I mean, there are a lot of bands in Mobile [inaudible 00:11:25] it ranges from the brass bands like Blow House Brass Band to kind of the Grayson Capps and the American stuff. What helps a lot is them being able to make a living at it. It's getting to where people, I think, appreciate local bands. It used to be that people would automatically dismiss local bands, which was a big difference. But now there are fans of local bands. Local bands are now able to go and tour the Southeast, which is different. The studios in the area and the record labels in the area are helping. There's definitely potential here. The downside of New Orleans is it's very focused on funk, jazz type thing. It's hard for indie, pop, rock bands. They don't get any notice there. So actually, they like to come over here and play, like the Motel Radios. They're probably more well-known here, which is a band from New Orleans.
Marcus: He's saying that because he can see the blank look on my face. You said, "the Motel Radios" and I'm like, "Really? Is that a band name?"
Gabe: We've had them a few times. They're a great band.
Ted: Some of the younger bands, actually, enjoy coming over here. The other part of it is just the venues. More and more venues, again, we've got 10 or 11 now. The last couple of years, we've had The Merry Widow, added Alchemy Tavern. It's just part of it's being able to make a living at it. That's a big part of it.
Gabe: I think that's right. I think you have to have sort of a supportive infrastructure there because what happens is, it's not like there's not great musicians. But the problem is, if there's not places to record cheaply, if there's not places to play and make money and sort of start building your crowd, then if you have any talent, you just leave, right? You move to Nashville, or Atlanta, or LA or whatever. I think what we've seen ... I mean, it's interesting. I started coming to Mobile touring in the aforementioned jangly rock band that I was in, and we would come through here in the kind of first half of the 2000's. We would play Monsoon's, right? [Noel 00:13:42] and the Monsoon's were the only guys doing kind of cool, original stuff. There was a ton of just modern rock, sort of Nickleback-type cover bands playing up and down the street. There weren't any great venues. Part of it was an audience thing. If you don't have an audience that likes to hear original music, then you don't have venues that carry original music because they've gotta sell drinks, sell tickets or whatever. And so then you don't have bands. It becomes this sort of vicious cycle. I think it's now going the other way. People now, we've been bringing in enough good, local, regional bands that people now, in town, expect to see great original music. You can get to Callahan's four nights a week and see a great singer-songwriter original act from wherever. So then, local acts get inspired by that. Local acts meet people they can go tour with. Like Underhill Family Orchestra, those guys are a local band. They're great. They've been slogging it out forever. Just now in the last year, there's a local record label they're signed to, they're about to drop a great new record, they've made a bunch of friends through SouthSounds. Now they're touring the region well because they're touring with their friends they met at SouthSounds. It's just all because now there's an infrastructure to actually take a band like that and make them successful outside of the one show they play every three months in Mobile.
Ted: Yeah, I mean we had well over 60 bands submit for the Lagniappe Showcase, local bands. You'd be surprised how many good ones there are. As an example, two years ago this band submitted, a couple high school kids out of Citronelle that probably had never played anywhere outside of Citronelle. They submitted via the website. They're called the Red Clay Strays now, but they play all over. People, professionals I know are fans of the Red Clay Strays. Doctors that live out in Spring Hill, they're big fans of the Red Clay Stays now. It's funny how-
Marcus: No offense to the doctors in Spring Hill.
Ted: No, I was one of them.
Marcus: We've got some friends there too.
Ted: People that don't usually hang out.
Marcus: I get what you're saying. It's not normal.
Gabe: I think it's changed a lot in the last two years. To your point, when we were going through the local submissions two years ago, we found six good bands but like-
Marcus: You were scraping.
Gabe: We had to look. We probably could have filled that six band showcase three times this with good, quality local acts. It feels like it's changing pretty quickly.
Marcus: Do you think, and this is self-serving question, but do you think that is a ... There's a problem of having an audience. If a band has an audience and a venue knows they're going to bring their audience to them, then they're more likely to book them. But there's also the idea that these venues also need to have a regular, a culture of bringing regular, good bands in because then people are more trusting that when they say, "Hey, we're having somebody in," that's the Motel Radios, for instance.
Gabe: There you go.
Marcus: That they're more trusting and willing to go and listen to a band that maybe they've never listened to before. Is that kind of how this works? Is that how we get this to ...
Gabe: Yeah, I think some of it, honestly, is about changing the expectation of music-going audiences in Mobile, right? I feel like 12 years ago, the expectation was you would go see a cover band downtown, right? Now, it's really ... The club owners and SouthSound, and the bands, everybody's sort of collectively pushing everybody's sort of cultural bar up a little bit. Now, I mean the run of shows that Brad and Maggie have had over the last few months at Soul Kitchen are on parr with anything you'd get at a good club in DC.
Marcus: I've noticed cause when we-
Gabe: I mean, they are killing it over there.
Marcus: Walking up and down Dauphin Street to restaurants or whatever, I'll see the big posters and I'm like, "Who? Seriously? They're coming here?"
Gabe: Yeah! War on Drugs or Spoon or all these Pitchfork acts-
Marcus: Well, I mean even Cee Lo Greene was here. Didn't, I could be wrong, but there was some other rap ... I can't remember if it was Snoop or some other fairly big rap artist that was playing there as well. It's not just local ... They're bringing in really good quality people into Soul Kitchen.
Gabe: For sure. And David and Ryan are doing the same thing at Merry Widow and sort of the more indie space and the Steeples are doing a bunch of cool stuff in country. JT is always ... JT's got enough clout right now at Callahan's, he'll book an act and just tell people, "You've never heard of this guy. Be here. It's $20." And he'll sell out in four hours because there's so much trust there from his fan base and he's got a good ear. The artists really like him. We're developing enough venues now where, I think the expectation of people going to see music is not that you're going to see somebody play a bunch of modern rock covers. People want to hear local music now.
Marcus: That's very cool.
Ted: Yeah. I mean, to your point, I think JT, all of them have but that's exactly what JT did as far as being a club that would just bring in good acts and you're just going to go there if he's picked them. It takes awhile for some local bands to get in there but-
Marcus: He's a taste maker.
Ted: Yeah. I don't want to make his head any bigger than it already is.
Gabe: He might listen to this.
Marcus: He's listening to this. No, we work with him a little bit on another venue over on the eastern shore and we recognize, he's definitely bringing the heat.
Ted: We're kidding, we love JT.
Gabe: It becomes this ... It's a downward spiral on one hand, but it becomes this sort of virtuous circle on the other hand. I feel like we're in that place. There are cool local mobile bands right now. It'll be interesting to see whether any of them break out. I think it'll change a lot in the next four to five years because the scene is headed in that right direction. I think what people will start to do more and more is push each other artistically and sort of demand that people do more creative things. As I think Mobile bands start to tour more and see other parts of the world and hear other bands and broaden their horizons, that'll help the quality of local music a good bit too.
Marcus: Well, and I'm sure people like the Peavy's opening up Dauphin Street Sounds and having Ben booking acts for some of the events that they do, but also what's the other recording studio that just opened up in the eastern shore? Because I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head.
Ted: The Zimmers.
Gabe: Oh yeah, the Zimmers thing. And then Rick's got, Rick Hirsch's studio H20, he does [crosstalk 00:20:30]
Marcus: Yeah, so I mean there's a lot of different venues for them to go and get the experience of recording, get themselves down tight. But also not just ... I don't know. I see that there's a lot of opportunity here and it's just always surprised me that it hasn't been where it is but I'm glad to hear from guys that are in the scene, that it's kind of heading in that direction.
Gabe: They're doing, I mean on a label front, you've got Scott and Kate Lumpkin with Skate Mountain Records. They're great people and they come from sort of outside of town because of their film connections. They're very invested on like, "We want to grow local music." So they signed all these great local bands and they're putting resources behind them that people haven't done, really, locally, maybe ever in terms of distribution and marketing. I'm telling you: this Underhill Record is so good. It's not out yet but I've been listening to it for months and it's going to be really cool. I mean, the Zimmers with Baldwin County Records. We've never had local labels here, that I know of.
Ted: What people tell us is that when they come to the festival for the first time, they're shocked how good the bands are that they've never heard of. Really, the music business has changed because you know, when we grew up in the '80s, you had Led Zeppelin or whoever was playing.
Gabe: You're dating yourself, man.
Marcus: I'm there with you, dude.
Ted: You know, everyone knew the same bands. They're all on TV and now the music business is all over the place. The kids find out through YouTube. When someone puts a YouTube ... You're getting Alabama Shakes, one blogger picked them up and that's how they got famous. It's really changed. It's not quite like the old festivals where you look for this band from Los Angeles, the only time they're going to come through here. The people that come and do it, again, they're shocked by how good these bands are. We have them from New Orleans, Birmingham, from Charleston, from Atlanta, from Nashville and we really try to lean on JT and people like that. We lean on some of the agents and music business people in the cities. We lean on some music writers we know. But we really just try to pick some of the best bands all these different cities, be it Charleston or wherever. That's really the main thing. I was kidding earlier when I said, "Well, if you've heard most of the lineup, we're not doing our job," but really we put a lot of effort into finding, even if they're not the next Alabama Shakes, they're good, solid bands that we're happy to have down and that's kind of the point.
Marcus: Now, I know that you just got back from South By Southwest.
Gabe: Yeah, I was on a panel there.
Marcus: Did you go this year or you didn't ...
Ted: No, I went early on. And again, that's part of it. That's how we've grown organically, again, like this. We've just grown a little bit year-by-year but that was the idea. Some of the bands were saying they don't want to go out there anymore. It's just gotten too big.
Marcus: I would agree with that. As a matter of fact, when we were talking, I haven't been for probably ... It was 2012 was the last time I went, so it's been five years since I went and I stopped going because it was just absolutely ridiculous. The first year I went, you could literally stay in the hotel across the street from the main convention center and then it started getting to the point where you were having to stay way outside of town and drive in and all this stuff. But I guess where I was going with that is, and we may have to strike this, but are there any plans to move SouthSounds into that kind of format where it's like tech, film, music?
Gabe: Yeah, I mean I think that we ... Yes.
Marcus: There's a lot going on here to push tech.
Gabe: So, it's interesting. We're very eager to have other non-music parts of the festival and we do, to some extent, this year. Mobile Arts Council is sort of doing an arts market and there's a more interactive sort of visual arts component that's going on. It's mainly been focused on the music but there is sort of a whole visual arts component that I think is actually going to be much more prominent this year. It happens to be that start-up weekend, that Innovation Portal and Tech Starters and those guys are doing, is that same weekend. So we're partnering with them. I think this year it's just primarily a co-promotion sort of relationship. They're doing it at the Steeple which is, you know, we're close with the folks who own that, and Jenna is on our board so we're co-promoting with them. We're trying to figure out ways to work hand-in-hand with them. I think part of it for us is it's an all volunteer gig, right? To coordinate all those other components is challenging just from an administrative stand point. But I think what we've found is if we have other things that people are sort of running independently, and then we're all just coordinating. Somebody runs a tech piece, and somebody runs a food piece, and somebody runs a film piece, we're very open to that and would love that. So if you're out there and you guys want to coordinate a film piece next year, or whatever-
Marcus: Well, we may need to strike this because we may need to talk afterwards.
Gabe: Yeah, let's do it!
Marcus: But anyway, let's get off of SouthSounds for just a second. Let me get back to some more business related questions. When you think of books or podcasts or organizations that are helpful to you all, are there any that come to mind? Any books that you've read or podcasts that you've listened to on a regular basis that you think deserve some sort of mention?
Gabe: I mean, my stuff is pretty niche. I subscribe to all the music blogs. I'll read, but it's all the trades. It's Billboard and it's all that kind of stuff. Hits and things, just to stay up to speed in that aspect of things. There's a book by Don Passman, he's another lawyer, called "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Music Business" or "Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business" or something like that, that is sort of the music attorney's bible. That is a really good book. Actually, for anybody who ever wanted to know how the music business works, either they're an artist ... It's written kind of for artists but it's also very detailed and lawyers will use it. By Don Passman, it's "Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business" I think that's the name. It's in its fifth edition or something like that. It's a good read for anybody who ever wants to know how deals are structured, what the money looks like, how things actually work, how the sausage gets made on the deal side. It's a very good book.
Marcus: Interesting. You have anything you want to add to that?
Ted: No, I mean. In terms of-
Gabe: A neurology textbook you want to add?
Marcus: Listen, you never know who's listening to this. There may be somebody out there that wants to be a doctor or who wants to run their own practice or who wants to be a music lawyer.
Ted: Yeah, I mean from the music standpoint, it's just keeping up with these blogs. We've always joked we need to start a southern music podcast. That's what we need to do next.
Gabe: We [crosstalk 00:27:49] on our hands.
Ted: All Songs Considered, stuff like that. There's some good new music podcast. We do need to fill that niche with the southern music podcast, I think.
Marcus: So what is the most important thing that you've learned over this process of running a large music festival?
Ted: Well, I think the main thing we've done is, like I said, we've grown organically. We haven't taken large risks. We've grown a little bit year-by-year. The way we run it, it'd be hard to ... We might have a bad year with weather or whatever, but we run it so we don't take large risks. So we'll always be there to fight another year. I think that's the main thing, really, with any business that I've done. I'm also involved with some other things here, the Old Shell Trolley and some other fun stuff. It's always just grow incrementally, minimize your risks, and just take advantage of the opportunities where you can. That doesn't work for all business models. Sometimes you do need to take a big risk but in something that's like this that Mobile needed to adapt to the concept of having an independent music festival, I think it's been the best for us.
Gabe: For me, I think the thing that I've learned or that has sort of been underscored which is probably the same thing I've learned in my career overall, which is the most important thing you have is your relationships, right? Particularly in a business like the music business, your relationships are enormously valuable as currency, on some level. People come to me and our firm because our relationships can open doors for them and can make things happen, make things move along. Similarly, if you're running a music festival or whatever the event is, whatever the business is, your relationships can be enormously valuable, particularly if you're short on cash. This is not a festival that is flush with money.
Marcus: Not flush with a million dollars sitting in a bank account.
Gabe: It is a nonprofit. And every year it's like, "We got a dollar, how do I turn that into five dollars?" And somehow we've been able to do that and the way is through our relationships. It's personal relationships, it's from friendships, it's people coming to the festival thinking it's a good thing to do. It's whatever it is. You go to somebody and listen, you're not trying to beg, but it's sort of like, "Here's why this makes sense for you. Here's why this makes sense for us. I can pay you this. I'm not trying to be a jerk. You know why I can't pay you more than that and I'll help you out down the road." And then actually help them out down the road when you can. It also makes it more fun, right? It's more fun. We're all going to work for a long time in our lives and I think it's more fun to do it if you're working with people you like and you can open doors for people and make them feel good and do that by calling up a buddy that you've known forever. That starts to become a pretty fun way to fill your working hours.
Marcus: You touched on it but I just want to go back and reiterate because the audience is a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners and people that kind of live in that ecosystem. But one of the things that I've found is just relationships are like anything in business. Even if it's just going to a networking event, being introduced to somebody for the first time, or quite honestly, you and I had never met. We're sitting here because of an email I think you sent just kind of out of the blue to introduce yourself and to see what we might be able to put together. And so here we sit.
Gabe: You know, it's funny too because I spend a lot of time going to things like South By or going to the Grammy's. I'm in these hyper-networking atmospheres. Everyone's passing out business cards or whatever. It's funny. When people think about networking, when I first started going and stuff like that and trying to get out in the music community, I thought it was about how many people can you meet? How many business cards can I get? Now, it's so different. The real thing is if I go to an event and I make one or two solid relationships like somebody over in the corner that I had a 30 minute conversation with. That is infinitely more valuable than having papered the room with business cards or whatever. I think people kind of miss that. I think if you focus on, just get that one shot. Just that one good relationship and then you can be done. Then you can leave the event. It doesn't feel quite so tiring. You just had that one great conversation and you focus on that and you see what can come out of that. It's been a lot more successful I think, in my world.
Marcus: I totally agree. Alright, so to wrap up: I do want to thank you for coming on the podcast. Any final thoughts, comments you'd like to share?
Gabe: I'm going to plug SouthSounds for a minute.
Marcus: Actually, that's my next question so don't do that just yet.
Marcus: Any final thoughts or comments?
Ted: Just to reiterate what he just said. I think Ashley Trice may have introduced us but in Mobile, Mobile's not a big town but here I am a doctor trying to run a music festival. Oh, there's this entertainment guy that works in Nashville and Atlanta and you might want to meet him. Some people kid there's only 500 people in Mobile that do stuff but there's a lot of people in Mobile and I think it's just connecting with the people in Mobile to make stuff happen here.
Gabe: And then you moved across the street from us.
Ted: Yeah, and now we live across the street from each other.
Marcus: There is an ecosystem of people that are trying to drive Mobile forward and I think the numbers that are being added to that ecosystem are growing daily.
Gabe: Yeah, in terms of a final thought. I was just going to comment, having spent some time here in the first half of the 2000s before my wife and I got married and she moved away, and then coming back 10 years later, it really feels like it's a special time to be here. I mean honestly, I think we spend so much time working on this festival or doing other things in the community. I think the reason for that is just to be part of this ecosystem that you just mentioned. Just to be in a situation where you can look back 20 years and we're like, "Yeah, I was actually part of that. I was part of that growth." It's pretty inspirational and it's a good group of people. You know, [crosstalk 00:34:24] sounds like a fun time.
Marcus: So if you're out there listening thinking about, "Wow, I'd really like to be part of that," get up off your butt and do something. There's plenty of places to get plugged in. Alright. So now, SouthSounds.
Gabe: Now we can plug?
Marcus: Please. Plug away because actually I think there is extreme value in what you guys are doing and I think it's just incredible you're doing it just because ... We do it too but I'm always impressed when I meet other people that are like-minded and do stuff out of the kindness of their hearts but please, plug away.
Gabe: Yeah, sure. It's April 13th through 15th, so it's coming up. Tickets are on sale. You can get them on our website which is SouthSoundsFest.com. We just released another 30 acts or so today, which I guess will be a few days ago, whatever it is. You'll do the math. Ticket prices go up April 1st so if you want to still get your early bird price tickets you can go to SouthSoundFest.com. You only have another few days and you can get it. It's a fun time. It's a good family friendly time. There's a lot of shows you can do during the day or you can do outside or you can go to all ages venue so you can bring the kids. You know what we see a lot? People who bring their high school kids who are in band or whatever because it's a good time for them to experience that and to be part of the community. It's a good way to bring everybody together. We would urge everyone to come out and you will find some music you like, you will find some music you don't like. That's kind of the point. That's why your wristband gets you into every venue. That's why we do it downtown where the venues are really close. You'll go hear a band and think they're terrible and then you'll go across the street and you'll find your next favorite act. That's kind of part of the fun. You can go on our website, which is SouthSoundFest.com, and there's playlists and there's YouTube links and you can listen to bands and do a little homework and find some new acts that you might like.
Marcus: Very cool.
Gabe: Thanks for having us.
Marcus: Yeah, no. I just wanted to say I appreciate you sitting with me and in this case, just sharing who you are, the people behind SouthSounds. Normally I would say "business owners and entrepreneurs" but this was kind of a different episode of our podcast. But I felt that it was very important because while you are all not here representing your businesses, you are representing downtown and you are representing all the businesses that are going to benefit from the influx of you said 10, 11,000 people that attend, coming downtown, eating in the restaurants, staying in the hotels, going to the bars and having a drink. All of those kinds of things. So hats off to you for taking that on. Thank you for being here with me.
Gabe: Thanks for having us.
Ted: Thank you for the opportunity.