Sky Guasco of Eugene reggae band Sol Seed knows it’s tough out there for DIY musicians.
“I’ve booked the tours,” he says. “I’ve played the shows. We’ve put in the road miles; we know what it takes.”
That’s why Guasco formed Freedom Thought Collective, a group of independent music industry freelancers working together to provide basic services to upstart bands. FTC offers booking, publicity, band management, videography, graphic design and more.
The collective is active around the region, and Guasco says he hopes to soon have artists on the roster from all over the nation. But for now, FTC is throwing Freedom Thought Fest, a four-day benefit for the new venture.
Freedom Thought Fest is Sept. 14-16 at Wildcraft Ciderworks, with an afterparty Sept. 15 at Sam Bond’s Garage.
“A local Eugene band is looking to get out of town,” he says, “hit the Northwest or go down to California, and they’re not really sure how to do that.” That’s where FTC comes in.
“They get ahold of us. If it’s a good fit, we do our best to accommodate them — creating new heights for themselves and their art. We’re all encompassing,” Guasco says. “That first step to the next tier.”
Performing at the festival are ZuhG, Chiefed, Laura Ivancie and more. All artists are on the Freedom Thought roster, and all proceeds benefit the musicians. Guasco says he wants to pay forward all the help Sol Seed received early on.
“It’s very difficult to get moving in this industry,” he says.
FTC’s real-world experience differentiates it from traditional booking agencies.
“A lot of booking agents are behind the scenes,” Guasco explains. They don’t know what it’s like to drive eight hours and sleep on floors, he adds. “We have a lot of insight and knowledge. We’re willing to share. A lot of the artists have been really appreciative.”
Sol Seed’s audience knows them for Northwest-style reggae-rock. But for Guasco, when it comes to FTC, genre doesn’t matter. “I think really it’s just a matter of making sure the vibes connect,” he adds.
Guasco hopes FTC will not only help local artists take next steps but also provide the core music-industry infrastructure Eugene needs.
“It’s about seeing what needs to happen for a music scene to keep thriving,” Guasco says. “Taking everything we have in town and really getting people together, knowing that there’s more out there, just trying to expose people to more than what they’re used to.” ■
Freedom Thought Fest is 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15, and 4 pm Sunday, Sept. 16, at Wildcraft Ciderworks, with an afterparty Sept. 15 at Sam Bond’s Garage; $10, all-ages until 8 pm.