Music festivals are a great reason to travel, and what better reason is there to go to a music festival than for business?
“Wait, what!? I don’t want to conduct business at a music festival!”
Point well made, but what if I said there is a fun way to conduct business without actually feeling like you’re in the office working.
No matter where you go for a music festival, the city is alive, filled with artistic and creative minded individuals breeding an atmosphere of innovation and compassion. The biggest challenge being the process of discovering such breeding grounds, and it isn’t easy.
My brother is stationed at a Coast Guard base in Yorktown, VA and I live just outside New Orleans so there is a little distance between us, but we talk when we can and it’s no surprise that when he brought up the idea to go to Quebec this summer, I jumped at the opportunity. I made sure that all my jobs were wrapped up before I left for a month, and my brother took leave for a month so we could make this trip.
Rarely ever do we have a conversation without talking about business, ideas, innovation, or travel, so being the travel enthusiast that I am, I made sure to mention that Canada’s largest music festival, Festival d’ete de Quebec, was during the first couple of weeks in July, which also is one of the most active months of the year for the city in terms of tourists and festivals. So, we had our dates set, even though the main reason we wanted to go back up there was to visit family.
I flew up to Virginia and was treated to one of the best restaurants in my repertoire, Circa 1918. The food was obviously fresh and cared for with a decent wine selection and they change their menu based on the season and availability of fresh ingredients. I was able to experience the old world charm of colonial Yorktown as well as the adrenaline rush of the World Renown Busch Gardens. Virginia was nice, but I couldn’t wait until we left for Quebec.
We left on the 4th, primarily because we knew the roads would be pretty empty, and made our way up, stopping in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a nice chocolaty change of pace on the way.
We drove all night and finally found our grandparents house in Levis (on the other side of the St. Lawrence river from Quebec) after getting lost a few times, once in New York, twice in Levis.
Once there, I felt at home, I felt my childhood summers come back to me, I saw the places and buildings that I had missed for the past 6-7 years, and most importantly I saw my family.
We went to waterfalls, chateaus, small cities, roadside restaurants, our ancestral home, and any place we thought interesting. We did, however spend most of our time on the Plains d’Abraham for the festival.
It helps that I just so happened to need to talk to my grandparents about a loan they would be giving me…I also like to look around, see new design ideas and new products that have yet to venture into the United States (I like to have cool new things other people don’t have yet). So no matter where I go I almost always have business on my mind, therefore making my trip a business innovation and fact-finding trip.
Additionally, I have to look good for business so I go shopping when I travel, unfortunately New Orleans isn’t as well known for it’s fashion, and different cities will have different product lines to suit that region, so I get things that fit my style that I can’t find in New Orleans.
But I digress, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Ok, what is so special about this music festival, and what is this breeding ground of innovation and creativity?” Well, let me tell you…
It isn’t the 300+ performances, the 1000+ artists from around the world, the 14 stages or even the 11 days that it takes the festival to have all those shows; it is the culmination of all those things along with the different people and cultures from around the world that come in to see this music festival and many others. When you are there, you have to strive to meet new people, make connections, talk about ideas, innovation, and business. You cannot be afraid of voicing your ideas and bouncing them off strangers, sometimes doing so can lead you to do things you never thought about, adding so much culture into your life can completely send your company into a new direction and push you up to that next level, maybe that person you talked to can’t help you, but knows someone who can.
Meeting these people, talking to them and bouncing ideas off each other, that is the breeding ground. Sure you have to meet quite a few people to weed out the right ones to talk to, maybe ask a few questions to the people next to you an airplane, but its all worth it.
This was arguably one of the best vacations my brother and I have had in a long time. We were able to see Bruno Mars, Ellie Goulding, Bass Nectar, The Black Keys, Les Trois Accords, Foreigner, Def Leppard, and many, many more bands during le Festival D’ete de Quebec($76 will get you access to all the shows for the entire festival and every year has a different line up of big named artists).
With the time we spent together we were able to think and talk about our businesses and the innovations we want to make, how we want to expand, clear our heads to get some new direction and bounce ideas off each other and other people around us.
As we sat at our uncle’s house on the St. Lawrence River taking in all the beauty that is Quebec and talking to him about his ventures, we couldn’t help our wanting to stay, but we knew what direction we needed to go and it was time to get started. We spent the next few days driving back, talking about life, love and happiness, and finally I flew home to New Orleans, eager and ready to move forward.
Brandon Jolicoeur is a young business professional from the New Orleans area who focuses mainly on designing and building custom bars, outdoor living areas and homes. As a native of New Orleans, he prides himself on being a food connoisseur and a travel and adrenaline junkie always staying true to his family’s motto, “Be Adventurous, Live Life!”