Neil Ferguson at The Horn interviewed Travis Sutherland, Aaron Brown and Jamie Brown about UTOPiAfest. The follow is an excerpt from the article. Please click through to The Horn to read the article in its entirety.
Music festivals are a dime a dozen these days, and as the big festivals only get bigger, the logistics and comfort in attending them only get harder. With so many festivals to pick from, there are a growing number of people seeking a more intimate experience that allows them to see the bands they want to see while avoiding the many hassles that come with attending “mega-festivals.” Enter Travis Sutherland and brothers Jamie and Aaron Brown, the three men behind UtopiaFest.
Held on a private ranch about three hours southwest of Austin in Utopia, Texas (best name for a festy town ever?), the festival is almost not big enough to even be considered a festival. The 1,800-person capacity makes the crowd about the size of a sold out show at Stubb’s (recently sold out by festival headliner Dr. Dog). That may seem small, but there’s a reason behind it. The land itself belongs to Travis, who inherited it from his mom and her three sisters, hence the name 4 Sisters Ranch. After spending his youth on the ranch and eventually getting a piece of it, Travis came to the realization that the property was too beautiful not to share with others. What better way to share a gorgeous piece of land than to throw a music festival on it? That’s where Jamie and Aaron come in.
Travis had been holding small music festivals for his friends when he reached out to Jamie and Aaron, who run a local video production company, to come out and film his event.
“My brother Jamie and I drove out to Utopia one weekend, and realized as soon as we got there that [the ranch] was one of the most magical settings in Texas. It’s a beautiful natural amphitheater, there’s pristine hill country and rivers right there,” Aaron said.
Enchanted by the land and the music, Aaron and Jamie drove back to Austin, started kicking around ideas, and decided to talk to Travis about the festival. Though they weren’t involved in music festival production, the brothers personally knew many bands and felt they could bring perspective and experience to the table, they said. As UT alums, Aaron and Jamie also had a knack for throwing parties.