For my last Tour De Force blog ever I thought I would write about the two things I love most about summer—ice cream and music festivals. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to attend any major festivals, thus I must live vicariously through both my co-workers and Ice Cream Man.
Ice Cream Man is a company with one mission in mind—travel the country and give away free ice cream. Why? Because everybody loves free ice cream. It’s as simple as that. Founder and Ice Cream Man himself Matt Allen has been driving around the country for the past three years in his ice cream truck “Bessie” attending music festivals across the country and giving away over 250,000 free ice creams. So, how do music festivals and free ice cream tie-in? My best guess is this, bringing people together has been at the core of Ice Cream Man’s organization since it’s inception and that’s exactly what music festivals are about. They bring like-minded people together from all corners of the country to camp, get really dirty and enjoy great music together.
As the company has grown, they’ve become more than just the guys that hand out delicious FREE ice cream in the sweltering heat at festivals like SXSW, Bonnaroo, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. Since their inception in 2007, Ice Cream Man has accumulated some pretty notable sponsors, most importantly their main ice cream sponsor Ben & Jerry’s. Being the ice cream connoisseur that I am, I know this brand can be somewhat expensive, so the fact that they can give away Half Baked bars (their most popular) for free is awesome. They also have a series of video sessions from some of the biggest buzz bands around including MGMT, Broken Social Scene, Band of Horses, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Avett Brothers and more. In our interview with Matt he said, “We’re so lucky and so fortunate to be out there doing what we do — filming the video series, giving away free ice cream. It’s very bizarre because we end up working with and filming a lot of the bands that we love. I mean sure, we’d love to get some of the bigger names like Pavement, but we wanted Temper Trap and boom right off the bat we got it.” Check out some of the awesome sessions they’ve done right here.
The great thing about these session is the intimacy and insight each performance provides, “A lot of times on the Internet it’s like “Hey, check me out on my rooftop,” “check my out in my basement,” “check me out in my living room,” it doesn’t mix it up. Nobody else kind of travels and does what we do, so it’s a great way to get unique live performances that sound different than anywhere else.”
After attending every major music festival in the US you’d think they’d have some pretty awesome pictures, show reviews and stories. And you’d be right. They’ve got pages and pages of reviews and pictures from some of the biggest shows on the festival circuit during the past three years, as well as regular road updates. Being the music festival veteran that he is, Matt also had some great tips for first time festival goers.
“There are a couple big things. Obviously drink a lot of water, but on the musical side of things you need to make sure you see the bands that you want to see. Just pick a small handful, maybe three or four, and make sure that you see them. You’re going to get caught up doing so many other things that it’s easy to miss them. For the rest of the time don’t put yourself on much of a schedule outside of that. You want to wander around and walk by a tent of a band you’ve never heard of and be blown away. Also, don’t get too attached to groups. Don’t find yourself with ten people, trying to keep up with everybody for the whole time. As long as you have a place to meet up with somebody, go solo if you can. Yeah, it’s nice to be with your friends but if you’re trying to keep up with everybody and do what you want you kind of miss out on the experience.”
As Ice Cream Man’s organization grows, it’s clear that their inspiration of “Why wait to fulfill your dreams?” remains the same. In speaking with the Ice Cream Man himself, his excitement and passion for what he does came across clearly. And really who can blame him? He travels across the country, witnesses some of the best live music in the world and puts smiles on people’s faces by giving away free ice cream. Doesn’t get much better than that, and he realizes it.
Check out some of my favorite video sessions below!