Never Say Never Festival: 3/15 and 3/16

There are few things that get me more amped up than the Warped Tour, but this year a couple things are rivaling it–namely the Dirty Work tour and the Never Say Never Festival.


A few days before heading to Austin for SXSW, I’ll be landing a mere 5 hours away to experience all this and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED.

I’m going to do my best while I’m there to let you live vicariously, but I also thought it’d be interesting to pick the brains of the festival organizers and get an idea of how something as epic as this comes together. Below I interviewed Geo Culberson and Zar Castillo, two of the guys who’ll make magic happen in Mission, TX this year.

BUZZNET: How did Dontgetemo Concerts get started?

Zar: I started in the music industry almost 7 years ago, where I found some small success in hosting VFW shows in McAllen for touring bands, at the time where no one knew where McAllen was on the map. At one point, George, who had been an old family friend for years, approached me about partnering up, combining our finances and starting from scratch, wherein Dontgetemo Concerts was established.

Geo: Zar and I partnered in 2005 to increase tour traffic in this area and support the local music scene. The local scene welcomed us with open arms and we’ve been throwing shows ever since.

NSN festival started in 2009 — how has it evolved and what’s your big vision for it going forward?

Z: My big vision going forward is simply growth. This years’ lineup, increased budgets, marketing & production, all in comparison to the past two years has grown exponentially.

G: It has certainly picked up speed in the last few years. It started as a 1 day festival with 2 stages and a limited budget in ’09. We listened to the local community and expanded the festival with a second day, increased production and talent budgets allowing us to book more acts.

What are the first few steps you take in setting up the festival each year?

Z: With my responsibilites of booking all the artists, my priority is to make sure the talent agencies I work with are completely aware of the festival and its timeframe. Once we solidify the dates, I start the art of negotiating with our artist wishlist. I’m also responsible for all online marketing, which includes the festival website & social media sites. Keeping that in order and in working condition is a whole monster in itself. Working together, Geo and I are able to produce our very DIY music festival.

G: It all revolves around the date of the festival. We take our time in planning out the date carefully, making sure not to overlap with any other major events in the area. Once we lock down our dates, it sets everything else in motion. This is key to a successfull event.

What would you define as the biggest obstacle in getting all the elements of a music festival together?

Z: Among finances, keeping our patrons happy with the talent we choose is the absolute hardest thing to accomplish. We strive in diversifying the lineup each year to introduce festivalgoers to new and emerging talent, and more often than not they become the artists they ask for the year after. We’ve had great success with new talent that few knew of years ago, and now they’re headlining all across the world.

G: I feel the biggest obstacle is keeping everyone happy when booking the talent. Although this is next to impossible, we try to keep most people happy while still keeping the event, fun, safe and musically diverse.

The mix of artists this year is very eclectic — do you guys start with a wishlist?

Z: Both Geo and I have our own wishlist each year, but we definitely listen to hundreds upon hundreds of requests via our twitters & facebook, incoming texts at 3 in the morning, emails, and notes on our cars. We ask fans way in advance who they’d like to see on it, and we definitely do our best in making magic happen.

G: Definitely! We love listening to the festival attendees about who they would like to see next year. People can always reach us over Email, Facebook, or Twitter found at We love to communicate!

Which bands are you personally most excited to see?

Z: I’m most excited to see Miami Horror, Skrillex, The Limousines, Neon Trees, Mac Miller, K.Flay, Fences & Hoodie Allen

G: I’m personally stoked to see Skrillex, All Time Low, and The Ready Set this year. We develop friendships with these artists over the years and its great to finally see them blow up. Hard work pays off!

For complete information on the NSN Festival, visit their official site.

And if you ARE going… let’s hang, eh?

PS. Shoutout to my friends at Music Skins who will be there!