Media & Technology: Redlight Greenlight 123

Monday, June 13, 2005

Vibe Music Quest

Quest (n) - the act or an instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.

This was precisely what the highly anticipated first annual Vibe Music Fest folks did - searched for people to attend their exposition and previously pursued sponsors to spend money setting up booths to attract these people. This past weekend was nice, but from some perceptions, it was, as some folks say to describe something less than attractive, a "hot mess."

Yes, I was there and I have a double-sided opinion on this one because I was both consumer and sponsor. I won't get too deep, but let's just say the people spoke and the power of the consumer continues.

The sponsors, oh the sponsors. I'm sure Vibe promised a certain amount of traffic to the exposition, which was held at the Georgia World Congress Center. The expo promised a plethora of opportunities to attract possible patrons, such as auditioning to perform at Saturday night's concert, meeting and greeting "A" list celebs, hearing hot new talent, and a myriad of celebrity panelists discussing everything from politics to ethics to the ins and outs of the "biz." A perfect set-up for anyone looking to be discovered. This expo, I'm told, was projected to have in upwards of 60,000 attendees over two days, so of course, all of the sponsors created these expensive interactive booths, or lounges as some were called, where visitors would "experience" the brand in all it's glory. Two booths stood out the most to me - Burger King, which was the main sponsor, and VH1 Soul. BK was prominently located mid-floor (naturally) and as you would exit their lounge you would run right into (maybe by design) VH1 Soul's lounge.

So here we are ("we" being all the sponsors) waiting for the "ready, set, go" and the stampede of 60K folks, when all of a sudden I heard a pin drop. OK, not a pin, because all of the booths that pumped up the jams were competing for air space, but from what I understand the actual attendance over two days was more like 15K, if that. There was more traffic on one of the many Peachtree streets in Atlanta. Yes, it was their first annual event. Yes, it may take at least 5 years before 99% of the kinks are out. But come on. How are you going to sell separate tickets for the expo and the concerts knowing most people can't pay for both? Let's see where the opportunity cost was here, shall we? Go to an expo where I may or may not meet someone who can skyrocket my music career and have sponsors, AKA advertisers, get me to buy what they're selling (because that is their ultimate goal) OR go to an "A" list concert featuring the likes of Mary J. Blige (who BTW didn't come for whatever reason), Atlanta's own Ludacris and Big Boi from Outkast, John Legend, the foine (yes, foine) Common and his lyrical skills, Faith Evans, Amerie (they both are gorgeous women in person), and everyone's wannabe favorite Lauryn Hill (she was not at her best - BIG HUG LAURYN)? Hmm...wuh, duh!

It got to the point when the workers in the booths visited other booths. If you've ever heard the expression "less is more," it did in fact apply here. It's as if the emptiness was crowded. It's like when there's no noise, but the silence is deafening. Disappointing to say the least. Well, at least my quest was somewhat fulfilled. I did meet a few celebs (112, you have a new fan), got bags full of free Dark & Lovely products, and a massage that was, quite frankly, orgasmic. Ut oh!

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