Job Envy: Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett has made a career out of professional partying (and rubbing elbows with celebs), but that’s not to say his coveted role doesn’t come with an equal dose of hard work. The sweat he pours into each event is a fair trade-off for the unbelievable stories he’s gained along the way—one of the things he’s most looking foward to at his all-time favorite gig: LouFest this August.
Jeff Jarrett, 30
Project Manager / Producer at Contemporary Events and Talent Buyer for LouFest Music Festival
Breaking into the Biz I’ve always loved music. I worked for a record company in college, and three hours after my last final, I was managing a load-in at NBC for Conan. Then, I was on the road touring with Jesse Harris, and subsequently, the Trampoline Records tour. When the job at Contemporary opened in 2004, the idea of having somewhat of a daily routine was a welcome change. I’ve been there ever since.
Education I have majors in business and communications and a minor in English from Saint Louis University.
Best Work Day Ever Announcing the LouFest lineup each year. I’m fortunate to have the job of recommending, negotiating and securing the bands, many of whom I have relationships with—and I love the feedback and attention that comes with dictating what bands people will see. I’m all about any event that gives people a reason to have fun.
Why His Job Rocks My work centers around activities that people covet in their free time. I’ve experienced a lot of outrageous moments (hanging out with Gilbert Gottfried comes to mind) and talked with great people (Johnny Marr, Anthony Bourdain, President Obama). Sitting in an office or wearing a uniform has never appealed to me. I’d rather be on the side of a stage watching a band behind a pair of Ray-Bans.
Typical Day A typical day doesn’t exist; it’s hard work. A producer is the first to show up and the last to leave. One day I could be producing a fundraising gala for a nonprofit, and the next could be spent setting up tents and lounge furniture for a birthday party. You just have to be organized and have the ability to think a few steps ahead of everyone else. That’s the key to keeping yourself sane and your clients happy.
Best Job Perk It has to be all the outrageous things I’ve witnessed behind the scenes. The stories I could tell would make you mental.
Proudest Moment LouFest, for sure, because I’ve always wanted to program a major festival. The Cards Opening Day Ceremony at the new Busch Stadium was definitely a moment. Sonic Youth appearing at Live on the Levee was also amazing. But, earning the respect and friendship of those I admire in the industry is most rewarding.
Goals for the Future We’d like to expand the scope and size of our events. Who in this business wouldn’t want to produce the Post-Oscar Party for “Vanity Fair”? Introducing new concepts and designs to this market and moving into new markets is the ultimate goal. I’m also really looking forward to the future of LouFest. It has unlimited potential.
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Photo credit: Photo by Attilio D’Agostino