An Inside Look at What it takes to Run Paradiso [Interview]

An Inside Look at What it takes to Run Paradiso

Unity Travel founder, Chris Overlay, was recently given an exclusive interview with a couple of very dedicated people who are responsible for making the Paradiso festival as awesome as it is.

Chris set out to find out just what it takes to put together a music festival as big and as loud as Paradiso. He sat down with Joe Farrell, the ticketing manager for USC events, and Justin Marine, the marketing manager. USC Events is the company that hosts Paradiso as well as other large festivals and club events.


Both of these men seem to really enjoy the work that they do, they both started as music festival fans, and now they are responsible for making things happen. “It is an amazing feeling to see the talent that you booked and all of the marketing that you put into it come alive,” said Justin Marine. Marine is responsible for booking all of the djs that perform at Paradiso. Justin started out organizing parties for high schools. He recently moved out to Seattle to work for the company. He said that a main challenge that he faces when booking talent for Paradiso is dealing with the location of the festival. The festival takes place at The Gorge, a breathtaking venue right on the Columbia River and is about three hours from the Seattle airport. Marine told us that he has to deal with the stress of delayed planes and making sure the artists arrive with plenty of time to prepare.

Paradiso is a huge festival, with about 20,000 people in attendance; Farrell has a lot to manage when it comes to ticketing. He is in charge of running two box offices for the festival and has to make sure everyone from general admission to VIP gets inside the festival safely and easily. He says that all of the hard work pays off in the end when he gets to see the festival go smoothly. Farrell started with the company as a volunteer coordinator and was able to evolve into different positions as they opened up.


This weekend will be the fifth Paradiso that USC Events has organized. Farrell and Marine have both assured us that the stages at Paradiso are always over the top, and that this year will be no different. There will be just as much music, rides and excitement as ever before. Paradiso attendees can expect a lot more art at the venue this year. There will be interactive art displays introduced this year as well as more campsite activities. They will be continuing the Team Dream recycling program that they started last year. Through the program festival attendees are encouraged to collect recyclables they find laying around and turn them in for ‘conscious dollars’ that can be used to claim different prizes. There will also be an award for the cleanest campsite for those festival attendees that are brave enough to camp out. Farrell, Marine and all of the employees have been working hard to make each year bigger and better than the last.

Paradiso’s lineup for this year is definitely packed with big names in electronic music. Marine told us that Alison Wonderland was the first artist that he booked for the festival. Everyone in the region wanted her so he knew he had to book her fast. Marine said that he is personally excited to see Millennium, a newer artist who’s had a breakthrough year, and of course the very popular Chainsmokers.

Chris asked the two Paradiso producers how they felt about the culture of music festivals changing from being solely about the music to being more focused on the experience of the event. The two said that their festival is headed in that direction as well. They said that people nowadays want to go to festivals just to go, and not necessarily to see their favorite artists. People want to relive their favorite experiences and just so happen to be able to see their favorite artist while they’re at it. “This year we were headline and music focused but next year we want it to be more about the experience. Our ultimate goal at USC is to become an experience based concert producer,” said Marine, “Yes music is our number one focus but we are making sure the consumers are immersed in the environment from the second that they walk in.”

When asked about what we can expect in the future from USC Events, Farrell and Marine hinted at something very big. They told us that there will be a new show being announced very soon that they are both very excited for. They told us that, this new event is sure to become everyone’s second favorite music festival, second to Paradiso of course.


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