tensixtyfive party animal logo
When one door closes, a window opens.
Less than two weeks to get it together, a weekend of music to replace Bayfest (the 20-year music festival abruptly cancelled Oct. 15) and TenSixtyFive was born.
1065 is the Mobile reference point, I-10 & I-65.
Mobilians banded together to keep our live music weekend alive. 92ZEW, Soul Kitchen, Gulf Distributing, Red Square Agency, Dauphin St. Sound Studio, Jake Peavy Foundation, Downtown Mobile Alliance, City of Mobile, Mayor Stimpson. Everyone pooled their resources, connections and anything else they could to make the weekend happen.
The result? A Free Weekend Festival in downtown Mobile featuring Sublime with Rome, Three Days Grace, Wet Willie reunion, George Clinton, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Grayson Capps, Eric Erdman, Kristy Lee and a local all-star jam featuring Rick Hersch, John Milham, Mark Pfaff, Tim Camp and numerous guest local vocalists. The act was called Tim’s Holding the Tail (reference to Tim Camp).
92ZEW sends a HUMONGOUS Thank You to all who pulled resources, time, and money to pull this off!
Read Elliot Maisel’s (Gulf Distributing) letter about TenSixtyFive Here
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The story of TenSixtyFive is one of the more interesting, exciting and rewarding stories in which I have been involved. When I received word that BayFest had been cancelled, I thought the void that existed created an opportunity for the Mobile community to express itself in a defining manner. I decided to go forward with a music event and asked my daughter Rebecca and son Evan to get involved with me. We pulled Jimmy Marston and the Gulf Distributing Company of Mobile, LLC leadership team together and communicated my initial thoughts to them. My goal was to have a small party-like affair that involved our retailers, our community and our local musicians in a manner that would allow for the relaxed flow of patrons from one establishment to another, up and down a closed Dauphin Street, while having a couple of stages at either end of the event, providing patrons with music entertainment. The newly formed DMG Productions, Inc. leadership team put our heads together, took the ball, and boy did they run with it!
“we are a strong, motivated, fun-loving community, and we have each others’ backs.”
The fact of the matter is no one from the Mobile community said “no” to any of our requests. Quite the opposite – everyone that we approached from our community enthusiastically agreed to work with the DMG Productions team to pull together this party. While we ran into a couple of potential sponsors whose out-of-town decision makers turned us down, and while there were a couple of entertainment acts who may have had a little bit of a “chip on their shoulder” about Mobile due to recent events, absolutely no one from the Mobile community or government stood in our way. This event was truly made possible by the coming together of local business, local government, and local musicians and donors. I’ve always been a proud Mobilian, but the way everyone at every level of this event worked together only reassured what I’ve never doubted about Mobile – we are a strong, motivated, fun-loving community, and we have each others’ backs.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson and his staff, led by Colby Cooper, bought in immediately and were extremely cooperative. Before we could even ask for help, Mayor Stimpson called me and proactively offered the city’s services with public works, public safety, and the help of the Downtown Mobile Alliance and the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. Next, the Gulf Distributing team called together our downtown restaurant and bar community for an organizing lunch. We wanted our retailers to be involved in this process, and every single one of them was on board.
All of a sudden, within 24 hours of my initial thought, we had the team and community in place to make this event happen quickly. Immediately upon hearing of our efforts, Rich Sullivan from Red Square volunteered his team to help with marketing, advertising, branding, and social media. The Red Square folks worked around the clock, in conjunction with Gulf Distributing Marketing Director Amy Baldwin, to put together all of the creative for the event, including helping us dream up the name: TenSixtyFive. Elena Freed at Red Square ran point on creative, and she and her team truly created the voice of TenSixtyFive through social media and radio ads and other marketing efforts.
Brad Young and Maggie Smith of Soul Kitchen, along with Tim Camp of 92Zew, jumped in head first to lead the effort in securing the bands. That effort was herculean and, as you know, amazingly successful. Brad, Maggie, and Tim worked the musician circuit for eight straight days, making endless phone calls coaxing and persuading the national music community to give Mobile a chance. Not surprisingly, our local music community immediately responded to our request for local acts, resulting in over one hundred requests from local musicians for appearances during TenSixtyFive.
Gulf Distributing Managing Director Domenic Olson and Tommy Springer reached out to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians with a request that they participate, and boy did they! The Poarch, without hesitation or delay, contributed mightily to the success of TenSixtyFive by sponsoring the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Stage. That stage proved to be quite successful with our local community and families, which is appropriate, as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians are a tribe of local families that have resided here for hundreds and hundreds of years and are an integral part of the fiber of our community. We are very proud that the Poarch were an integral part of the TenSixtyFive movement.
Additionally, Evan Maisel and our team reached out to Luke Peavy of The Jake Peavy Foundation and their brand new Mobile-based recording studio Dauphin Street Sound. Once again, without hesitating and with quite a bit of enthusiasm, the Jake Peavy Foundation said “yes, absolutely!” Luke and Jake met and exceeded our request for a major sponsorship contribution, resulting in the Jake Peavy Foundation Stage at Ryan Park. But the Peavy brothers’ generosity and contribution didn’t stop with stage sponsorship. Luke and Jake and the Dauphin Street Sound team contributed a very high level of knowledge and understanding of the music industry that, when combined with Brad and Maggie’s obvious expertise in the music arena, resulted in unbelievably warm, welcoming, first class hospitality not only for our national and regional bands, but our local bands as well. In less than a week, the Peavy family converted the newly remodeled Dauphin Street Sound into artist green rooms, a VIP hospitality area, and an entertainment and relaxation center for our artists that was second to none in style and class. All of the musicians were blown away by the wonderful accommodations afforded by the Peavys, which will no doubt help TenSixtyFive continue to garner world-class talent for future events. Tip of the hat to Ben Jernigan and Ellen Corley at Dauphin Street Sound for taking the lead on hospitality with Luke and Maggie Smith, as well as to Whitney Rouse and Kelly Hulak of Gulf Distributing for their tremendous effort during the event. TenSixtyFive hospitality would certainly not have gone as seamlessly without the help of Tony Franks, Adrian Pope, and Derrick Mahan from Gulf Distributing, who drove our fleet of vehicles for artists generously donated by Terry Thompson Chevrolet.
“This is our city, we gotta do this.”
Brian Willman, Vice President at Regions Bank, immediately embraced the concept and, in spite of the fact that there was only an eight-day promotional period, and in spite of the fact that the advertising for out of home and radio and social would be on for a limited time, Brian demanded to be involved. “This is our city,” he said, “we gotta do this.” I also want to give a shout out to Lamar Outdoor advertising for working with us to see to it that we got appropriate outdoor space not only in Mobile, but also in the greater Mobile area, including digital signage in Biloxi, Pascagoula, Gulfport, Pensacola and Ft. Walton. As I like to say, they’re all just suburbs of Mobile, ya know?
I also want give props to Rebecca Maisel, who worked tirelessly on the various contractual negotiations and arrangements with our entertainment, our vendors, our sponsors, and on the “behind the scenes” compliance details. Given the short timeframe, and especially given the fallout in the music community from recent events, contractual negotiation was no small task, and making sure we were buttoned-up and fully protected was truly a job well done by Rebecca. Big thanks to local attorney Chip Tait of McDowell Knight, Roedder and Sledge, LLC, who was a tremendous resource for our legal team as well.
I also want to compliment the Gulf Distributing team led by Jimmy Marston, Domenic Olson, Amy Baldwin, Sam Rollins, Jack Barbato, Kristen Stapleton, Kevin Thomas, Daniel Harper, and Jeff Bacon as well as the rest of our superstar on-premise team, including Rachel Hale, Amy Morris, AJ Dennis, John Racciatti, and many others, for working with our downtown retailers to ensure that patrons of legal drinking age had an opportunity to imbibe affordably in our great beverages and, of course, to partake in the delicious food at these wonderful venues. Speaking of our retailers, I cannot thank the downtown Mobile bars and restaurants enough for trusting us, embracing our concepts, and supporting our efforts in the spirit of cooperating together to do something memorable for the great people of Mobile, Alabama. Thanks to these retailers, the experience enjoyed by TenSixtyFive attendees was the essence of what the city of Mobile is – fun, festive, and a true community in every sense of the word. The vibe and the buzz created by the TenSixtyFive team, the retailers, and Mobilians was nothing short of remarkable – it was a relaxed and cool environment where party-goers moved effortlessly and happily up and down Dauphin Street enjoying one another and all that our great retailers have to offer.
My appreciation to those named herein and countless others for making possible the manifestation of what two weeks ago was just my little idea into the wonderful TenSixtyFive event cannot be expressed in words. We are excited to bring Mobile many more successful events in the future!
Party on, Mobile!
Elliot B. Maisel