Alum offers affordable music festival packages

In recent years, music festivals have become increasingly popular among young adults. Many of the locations that hold the festivals include camping and bring together large groups of people from across the world.

After taking a trip to the Magnetic Music Festival in Atlanta in 2012, USF alumnus Hugh Do became a dedicated member of the festival-going community, and now offers students his own option.

Do took the trip with independent promoters Brian Thomas and Luke Bird.

At the time, Thomas and Bird offered students affordable travel and hotel rates to any music festival, which eliminated much of the stress that comes from buying the tickets.

Do approached the two about turning this idea into a serious business.

“The demand in the scene has just gone up tremendously as well as the supply,” Do said. “We’re here for college students to give them a chance to save money so they can have the ultimate music festival experience.”

The three then formed a partnership and created Music Festival Trips (MFT), which Do said is committed to providing students with an affordable way to experience music festivals.

“Music is the only thing in this world that brings everyone together,” Do said.

The package MFT provides includes hotel accommodations, unless a camping site is available, transportation on a bus that departs from USF directly to the festival grounds and sometimes tickets.

“This gives students the opportunity to ride with their friends so they don’t have to worry about finding each other at an enormous site and to meet a diverse group of people sharing the same passion,” Do said.

Do said contracts are usually made with the Hampton Inn, and the company uses charter buses to and from most events. The buses also provide a sober ride at events, allowing students over the age of 21 to drink responsibly.

One of the trips MFT provided to USF students was to the Electric Forest Festival held in Rothbury, Mich., this summer, where more than 50 electronic dance music (EDM) DJs and jam bands such as Pretty Lights, Above & Beyond, Passion Pit and The String Cheese Incident performed.

An example of a type of package that could be available to students is the latest festival that MFT attended, Mad Decent Block Party that took place in Atlanta. The package included a hotel stay at the Hampton Inn, transportation and a ticket, all for $110.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Kiersten Pacelli, a junior majoring in marketing, went with MFT to the Mad Decent Block Party after receiving an invitation from Thomas the night before the trip.

“It was so exciting to do something so spontaneous,” Pacelli said. “Because the travel and hotel arrangements were already taken care of, it just made it so easy to pack my bag and go.”

Pacelli said the experience was one of a kind and was such a memorable way to experience seeing musical acts such as Major Lazer, Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus perform.

The next show will be Basslights in Miami featuring Bassnectar and Pretty Lights on Oct. 18-19. The package will include transportation and a two-night stay at the Ramada hotel for $100, but the students will be responsible for purchasing tickets.

Though the business has just started, it is quickly expanding to the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. Do said the company plans on working with Florida colleges and then branching out nationally.

Another way students can save is through a program called Trip Exchange through MFT. A free trip is awarded to the volunteers who assist with events either on campus promoting at Bull Market, or at the festivals themselves for 40 hours.

Do said he hopes to expand the genres of music festivals they travel to, to include rock, including going to Next Big Thing.

More than 1,000 students have participated in these trips so far and the population is growing.