Insomniac’s artist relations director, Jasper Li is the go-to guy tasked with coordinating hospitality and transportation for all of Insomniac’s club, concert and festival shows from the moment an act is booked till the crew rolls out. With Electric Daisy Carnival—a.k.a. Li’s “Super Bowl”—fast approaching, we caught up with him to find out more about what his job entails.
How is working on a festival such as EDC Las Vegas different from a nightclub show?
There is a lot more work involved in setting up a festival. Club shows are much more cookie cutter, because artists come in for the show and then leave. Concerts and festivals are more difficult to organize because there are a lot more layers. From Insomniac’s side, we work to arrange artist transportation, hospitality and production, and try to make sure all these aspects run perfectly.
It seems like everyone wants to get onstage—groupies, bottle buyers, industry members. Who actually should be up there?
We usually allow the tour managers to dictate who goes up onstage, and if an artist comes alone we usually keep the stage empty.
What’s the craziest thing someone has done to get onstage?
There are so many instances where fans, who may have met an artist down the line, try to come onstage.
At this point, our stage managers have got it down, and no matter what crazy conversation someone has with them, nothing is going to work.
What really goes on backstage?
Everyone thinks it’s all very glamorous, but most DJs come straight in and run out straight to their next gig. The backstage area, for the most part, is pretty bare bones, with only production staff running out. Most people expect crazy parties, but that rarely happens. But EDC will have those parties, because most DJs have time to enjoy their friends’ shows.
How do you run festival logistics when there is such an overwhelming amount of talent?
We divide the workload. All artist trailers are located in one area, and each stage has an artist liaison. As artists arrive at the venue, they are met by either me or a member of my team, and driven in a golf cart to the stage. During a festival I typically arrive when the first artist loads in and leave when the last artist loads out. It’s important for me to be there for sound check and to ensure that everyone gets their proper credentials.
I track down artists and make sure they get to the stage on time.
My job also involves dealing with issues that arise when people are late, which happens more often than not. If an artist misses their flight we have to adjust set times or replace them by having another artist play longer. Last year one artist was late because the tour manager didn’t read the fine print and went through the fan entrance, lost cell reception and then couldn’t find the stage for 30 minutes. They somehow made it up onstage, [albeit] 30 minutes late.
Any strange artist requests?
Not naming names, but someone wanted glass cups during one of our festivals, and I asked the tour manager why. His response was that the artist was allergic to plastic. But he proceeded to use a plastic CDJ the entire night. For the most part, artist requests are pretty straightforward. These guys travel so often; they don’t want five-star treatment. Most simply want a hamburger from In-N-Out.