A lot of people go out to see bands and wish they could get a more personal experience without having to paying the exorbitant amount that is charged for some VIP experiences. It’s hard for bands too because many of the times they have either just finished a show or are getting ready for a show and time is limited, making giving the fans what they want hard some times. The point is that some VIP packages may be worth it, others might not be, but it would be nice if there was a place where you could know what you’re getting. That’s where TourStop Minneapolis comes in, to provide that intimate backstage experience in a more relaxed environment. The company was started back in 2011 by Erin Finnegan, who sat down with us to talk about her company and her dream.
MMC: Tell us a little about TourStop. What is your mission?
EF: TourStop Minneapolis is a music based event production company located in Minneapolis, MN. We weork with touring musicians when they come through town for intimate studio sessions. We host an interview, photo shoot, live studio performance, and social hour. We invite a limited number of fans to attend and from each session, create a live EP and documentary of the band’s time with us. We also expanded our company and feature a local artist on the third Saturday of every Month.
Our mission is simple, to give a light to those deserving. TourStop’s official mission statement is, “Your passion for music does not go unnoticed” and that is really the backbone of this company. i’ve been an avid music lover since the moment I was born and became heabily invovled in the scene when I moved to Minnesota from New York when I was thirteen. As I became more involved, I saw certain groups growing and others staying in the same place. I always wanted to help smaller musicians, who put their heart and soul into their art, grow into something so much bigger than themselves. TourStop Minneapolis really focuses on making sure hardworking, kind, and talented musicians are given every chance and opportunity they deserve.
MMC: So how did the idea for TourStop come about?
EF: The story of how TourStop Minneapolis started is quite funny and dramatic, in my opinion. In 2011, I was enrolled in college at The Institute of Production and Recoding where I obtained a degree in Music and Entertainment Business. While I was a student there was a class called “Student Run Records” where sutdents worked with smaller artists from the area and learn how to work in a record label setting. The class was fantastic but wasn’t getting enough recognition. The idea of TourStop was brought to the table (but under a different name) and I was asked to book the first band which happened to be Bad Rabbits. The first session went really well and I began booking all of the artists. Soon enough, we were working with legitimate musicians such as MyChildren MyBride and my entire world became TourStop. I quickly transitioned from “booker” to “boss” and was running the show. As the months went on, I was booking bigger and bigger artists but the team
of students (and teachers) working alongside me were not taking it seriously as they should have been, besides myself and four of my friends. It was nearing my time to graduate and I knew I needed to continue this. I sat down with my four friends and talked about the idea of essentially taking TourStop and making it legally mine. We were told from the beginning that TourStop was legally registered to the school but it turns out it was not. So, I went ahead and registered the entire
company, the content and our new name ‘TourStop Minneapolis’ with the state of Minnesota under myself. I ended up calling the owner of the school and told him that TourStop was now legally mine and that if they continued to host sessions in the school, I would sue him. Which, is pretty ballsy looking back but he was always extremely supportive of myself and my work so he wished me luck and the rest is history.
MMC: What’s the experience been like for you so far?
EF: Being the Owner, Founder and Director of Artist Relations of TourStop Minneapolis is pretty indescribable. I was nineteen when TourStop was born and twenty when the company legally became mine. At that age, most people don’t even know what they want to do with the rest of their life and there I was, spending hours upon hours behind a computer building my company. In the beginning, that pressure weighed heavy on my shoulders. But, I quickly realized that I was working in an industry that so many people dream of, so I needed to get over the demands in my head and continue to work my ass off. It’s pretty surreal being around musicians and people in the industry who I looked up to growing up (and still look up to) and hear them say such positive things about my company. Situations like that make me pretty emotional and serve as reminders to myself, that what I’m doing is authentic and real.
MMC: You’ve worked with some pretty big bands, such as Cartel and Never Shout
Never!, did you ever think you’d meet bands with such a large audience
when you were starting out?
EF: I never, ever thought TourStop would be “big” or “cool” enough to work with musicians such as NeverShoutNever and Cartel. It’s funny because the night we worked with NeverShoutNever, we were also working with Man Overboard. I reached out to Man Overboard’s team about doing a session and their TM for that tour was also working with NeverShoutNever and he initially approached me about working with both groups while they were in town. I remember calling our head Audio Engineer at the time, Pete Vel, freaking out because I had been a fan of NeverShoutNever since my MySpace days. That session was a big learning experience for me. It taught me how to run two sessions at once, during a sold out shown, standing next to my favorite musician without loosing my cool. It also taught me the importance of meeting and mingling with the kids who go to those shows. I’m a pretty outgoing person, so meeting new people has never been an issue for me, but I never want people to think of me as a ‘sales woman’ when they meet me. Yes, I’m going to introduce myself as the Owner of TourStop Minneapolis when hosting sessions but at the end of the day, I’m just a girl who loves music and would do anything for the people who
MMC: Has there been a personal favorite band that you’ve gotten to work with?
EF: To be totally honest, I have so much love for all of the bands we’ve worked with. Every single band we’ve worked with have been filled with such amazing human beings that picking a favorite would be incredibly difficult. However, A Lot Like Birds hold a very special place in my heart and I actually call them the “TourStop first borns.” They were the first band to come in for a TourStop session after the company legally became mine, which happened to be on my twentieth birthday. That session was a make it or break it situation for me because it was the true test to see if I could really do this. The guys came into the studio at 9am and were so sweet from the moment they walked into the door until the moment they left. Our session video with them now has over twenty-thousand views and was featured on Alternative Press’ website. I don’t think they realize how big of a push they gave us and I can never thank them enough. I can whole heartedly say I would jump in front of a train for every single one of those boys.
MMC: What’s in the works for TourStop? Any big performances coming up?
EF: We have a lot of things coming up in the TourStop world! We’re about to release the video for
Superheater (a killer Minnesota based band) and just announced our March session with Strawberry Girls. We’re completely booked until July so right now, we’re focused on making those sessions memorable and growing the TourStop Family.
To keep up with TourStop and their insanely rad sessions you can check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.