In the world of fast-moving trends, it seems music festivals have taken a turn for the rich and famous. What used to be a chance for music fans to enjoy a handful of their favorite artists in the same place has turned into an exclusive party for celebrities, or anyone rich enough to foot the bill for a ticket. While festivals like Coachella in California and Lollapalooza in Chicago feature some of the biggest names in the music industry, that doesn’t mean the Midwest can’t get in on the action. In fact, creators and founders of Prime Social Group and Breakaway Music Festival are here to alleviate this problem by bringing the action to us.
Meet Adam Lynn and Zach Ruben, founders and creators of Prime Social who host a plethora of concerts and music festivals like Breakaway Music Festival. Now in its fifth year, the two have worked together to bring rap icons like Kendrick Lamar, EDM favorites like Dillon Francis, and even Columbus’ very own Twenty One Pilots to Mapfre Stadium. However, it hasn’t always been this way for the two entrepreneurs.
Before the days of PSG, Lynn and Ruben didn’t start working together until they collaborated on a Steve Aoki tour.
“We just took [Steve Aoki] all over the Midwest,” Lynn recalled. “It was just the craziest two weeks of my life. We went from Ann Arbor to Bloomington to Columbus, basically just traveling the country. But Zach and I had really been competitors until that tour.”
The final stop on the tour was Columbus where Ruben is originally from. Lynn, a New York native, said he had never been to Columbus before, but it only took one time to fall in love.
“I really like the whole ‘Ohio versus The World,’ ” Lynn said. “No one really says that about New York.”
In 2011, PSG hired its first employee. Eight years later, the company has locations in Columbus and Nashville while dipping its toes into other mid-size markets like Detroit and Milwaukee. And the world is starting to take notice. Just recently, Billboard named both Lynn and Ruben to its 2019 Dance Power Players list as live leaders shaping the genre. Who needs California?
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“If you look at sports teams, what are some of the best sports attendances? It’s pretty comparable—they’re selling tickets, I’m selling tickets,” Lynn explained. “Look at Milwaukee for example. That is a market that will have the strongest MLB attendance of the entire league, but their population is a fraction of some of these cities.”
The hype surrounding Breakaway has been taken to a national level, and Lynn said he’s ready to add more fuel to that fire. In 2019, PSG hosted four festivals and that number is expected to double in 2020. Breakaway business is boomin’.
This year’s Breakaway will bring back some familiar faces to the festival. Both Young Thug and Future return for hip-hop fans while Bassnecter will be blowing out speakers with an EDM set. If you’re looking to discover someone new, Kid Quill is someone Lynn said to keep your eyes and ears on. He’s an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from Indiana who takes the stage on Friday.
“I think that we’ve been around the business long enough that people are beginning to respect us. We’re not just here to come and go and make a quick buck,” Ruben said.
Lessons are taught even with success, and if Ruben can nail down one lesson he’s learned, it’s keeping the festival to just two days. Last year was the first time Breakaway spanned three days, and while it was successful, Ruben said he feels the markets are just better suited for two days…For now.
Breakaway Music Festival is at Mapfre Stadium on August 23 and 24. For tickets, visit breakawaymusicfestival.com.
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