Michael Berg is a music fanatic that took his love for live music and festivals and turned it into a full-fledged successful business that turns him on. He joyfully manages amazing bands like Conspirator, the Nth Power and The Heard while playing in his own band Van Ghost. He promotes many festivals including Suwannee Hulaween which is happening October 31-November 2nd in Live Oak Florida.
Suwannee Hulaween is headlined by the always full of surprises band The String Cheese Incident. This Halloween fans will be treated to a surprise filled three-set show themed 'The Afterlife' where fans are asked "What do you want to be in the afterlife?" The band String Cheese Incident, Michael and the promoters are encouraging guests to become part of the show by wearing costumes that interpret their take on life after death. How cool is that!?!
I was so inspired and turned on by how Michael puts who he is into everything he does so bravely that I just had to interview him about all of that. And here we go!
TW:: What's your big why for doing what you do?
MB: I am a firm believer in manifestation and that when we choose the path we want to take in life, it directs us to exactly where we want to (and are supposed to) be. This leads to happiness, which leads to us doing what we do better, which becomes cyclical in the best possible way.
Music, the music business and surrounding myself with like minded people is ingrained in me and has been since my earliest days & memories. My Mom is a career music teacher who taught me Beatles songs and the "Oldies" as a lil kid, My Grandpa (aka: The Colonel, her father) was a life long professional piano player and a socially well connected (and groomed) man who taught me how to clap on the 2nd and 4th beats as a shorty, and my Dad is the hardest working person I've ever known. They all led by example and that mixed with my passions lead to knowing what I wanted to do with my life.
I have found that my career path aside from being personally gratifying has created happiness for many others. My (and our whole extended teams) hard work allows others a place/moment in time, night in & out, to escape from their daily grinds and patterns which is so important to the legacy we leave on humanity both locally and abroad. The short version... a combination of doing what I love and having it positively effect other people is the big WHY for doing what I do.
TW: Yes! I have seen many of the bands you represent as well as attended festivals you promote and I can tell you first hand that you have positively effected my life. Thank you. I kind of know the answer to this question, because being a music fanatic myself I know our people roll. What role does music play in your life?
MB: Music is everything. It's my passion, my feelings, my business, my escape, my expression, my social life, my frustrations, and my soundtrack. Do you happen to know where I can get a lil more?
TW: I do. You can get more at the Suwannee Hulaween. So...what's a big obstacle you've faced in your life and how did you overcome it?
MB: It seems like every day is a new obstacle (or new ones present themselves) but... I have crippling ADHD and concentration issues and always have. In my earlier years I struggled with personal demons, with partying and poor decision making and now it's really just the politics of the business and market were based in that create obstacles. On a simpler level, I'm a wannabe over achiever and part of (or included in) everything I care about. Finding balance to fit all of those things into my day and not fall behind is a daily obstacle but worth every second of the effort put forth. You just have to want it more than not, be willing to stay up late until all the work is done, then wake up early(ish) and start it all over again... the rest falls into place from there.
TW: Sometimes you've gotta hustle with ease to allow your dream life to happen. That was one piece of advice I received from someone that changed my perspective on things. What was one golden piece of advice you received from someone that changed your life?
MB: I don't think my answer is something any one person "told" or "taught" me rather than just (again) leading by example that I happily follow and practice myself... the key word is "Loyalty". I learn this from my friends and industry peers from week to week. Including, but not limited to all my partners/team at Silver Wrapper, Concord Music Hall, North Coast Music Fest, Suwannee Hulaween & Fiyawerx (FiyaWrapper fam) to my management clients Conspirator, The Nth Power & The Heard, to my band mates in Van Ghost (The Ghost Unit) and our label Dustimmoff, to agents/managers/bands like Lee Anderson (AM Only), Jason Kuppermman/Joe Atamian (Paradigm), Ben Baruch/Jeremy Salken/Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic), Phil Egenthal (Madison House), Matthew Beck/Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass) and Lucas King (React Presents). They all come to the top of my mind for people who have gone to bat for me as a promoter, manager, songwriter/performer and human. I am a soldier and for those who show me loyalty I will go to the ends of the earth and back for them, all day, any day. Loyalty is a lifestyle.
TW: Thank you for sharing that genius nugget of knowledge from your experiences. Loyalty as a lifestyle serves us all. I'm grateful for you and what you do for not only the live music scene, but for the world. What are you grateful for in your life right now?
MB: I have an abundance of gratitude for an unlimited amount of things. I am living the life I love and achieving small successes that hopefully will continue to lead to bigger and better ones for myself and everyone I am connected to. I'm happy, healthy and haven't lost my drive or the twinkle in my eye for chasing my dreams at 36 years old. The good news is, we've only just begun and the future seems bright. I'm grateful for my friends and my family. Extra gratitude shout out to my assistant Tara Huelsebusch and life long business partner Leif Moravy. I would be a disorganized mess with out them both. Literally.
TW: Beautiful. Since as you stated, it's only just begun, what are you looking forward to?
MB: I am looking forward to wrapping up 2014 festy season with Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL over Halloween weekend in 2 short weeks. It is truly going to be a special event at an equally amazing site, Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Then The Ghost Unit (Van Ghost) are traveling to "The Barn" in Vermont (with my dream band line up) to record our 3rd record (Can I Call You Karma) in late December... then going on Jam Cruise (the worlds greatest party and the only 5 days of the year I actually unplug) to unwind w/ some of my favorite people from a long year of high highs and low lows. Then starting 2015 with a renewed energy to try and top what has seemingly been the best year of my life so far in pretty much every single way. Please wish me luck!
TW: Your wish is granted! I wish you so much luck in all of your endeavors although I don't think you need luck at all. From this interview I see so clearly that you do everything with passion and love. When you lead with love it all unfolds divinely just as it should. It's all happening!!! Thank you Michael Berg!
If this interview turned you on and sparked your interest in attending Suwannee Hulaween this Halloween weekend you can find out all you want about it right >>>here.
Check out last year's video recapping all the magic.
The awesome in me sees and bows to the awesome in you,
Taraleigh Weathers guides people who are in love with live music who want to bring the authentic expression of themselves that they let out at music festivals and shows into their everyday lives. She is also a published best selling author and retreat and event producer. Basically she loves rocking people's lives!
How to Become a Joy Addict: The 12 Step Program is Taraleigh's next highly anticipated book and is slated for release early 2015. In the meantime you can enjoy reading Taraleigh's words right here in The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen and on her blog taraleighlovesyou.com.
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