Kickoff to Firefly: When fans promote the brand

WASHINGTON – Concert and event promotion used to be left to the professionals. Recently, however, the job is being done more and more by someone you know very well: you.

These days, bands get a lot of free publicity from fan groups called “street teams,” which hand out flyers and stickers, call radio stations to request songs, and flood social media about the band.

The Firefly Music Festival, now in it’s fourth year at The Woodlands in Dover, Delaware, has taken this idea one step further to help promote the festival coming up on June 18-21 by introducing the Firefly Brand Ambassador.

This Brand Ambassador program is a new endeavor by Red Frog Events, the Chicago-based event promotion company behind  Firefly, Warrior Dash and the Big Barrel Music Festival , a country-oriented weekend also held in Dover.

“The program was born out of a desire to empower fans.  The value of social media is apparent, but we wanted to get people out in the fan community. Putting on these events really allows that,” Senior Brand Ambassador for Firefly Michael Greco says.

Area brand ambassadors were chosen during a thorough selection process.

“When we recruited for the program, we gave candidates the chance to really showcase their spirit and tell their Firefly story,” Greco says. “(They) completed an essay questionnaire and were selected on criteria like uniqueness and professionalism.”

Once selected, ambassadors were given a budget to put on events of their own creation.  In return, each ambassador receives a VIP pass and a camping spot to attend Firefly.

Locally, Kristen Mink and Mandi Heesh were the two D.C.-area candidates chosen.  Born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, Mink thought the Brand Ambassador position would be a good fit for her because of previous experience throwing buzzworthy events when she was Yelp’s D.C.-area Community Manager. She’s currently a teacher at an alternative middle and high school in D.C,

“I couldn’t resist the pull of the classroom, but getting to throw some events and rally a fun community on the side has been a great opportunity to dip my toes back in those waters,” Mink says.

The event born out of those waters happens Saturday at the Howard Theatre. Branded as a Kickoff Party for Firefly, the event features two of the artists playing Firefly, including the indie pop trio Prinze George, whose name is an homage to the county where the band grew up, Prince George’s.

Also on the bill are self described “Dirty South Hip Hop/Electronic” band Styles & Complete, plus two local DJs: DJ Lightwaves and The Lothario.  Mink planned the event as “a chance for fans … and the artists to get together and get excited for what’s only weeks away and to get down with the bands  in a much more intimate setting.  We’re keeping costs low because it’s really for fans of Firefly….and we’re giving away two VIP passes (to the festival) during the show.”

The Brand Ambassador program isn’t a one-time experiment.

“I’m really happy with some of things (the ambassadors) came up with,” Greco says. “Like any new program, it’s a learning year, but we’re looking forward to the possibilities for next year, as we fully intend on growing the program along with the festival.”

Click here for tickets for the Kickoff to Firefly event at the Howard Theatre.

Click here for tickets for the Firefly Music Festival.

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