ThatDrop: What did you have to do to be considered for Life is Beautiful festival? Had you ever DJ’d at a festival before?
Ryan Lofty: I wanted to perform at Life is Beautiful because it happens, literally, across the street from my apartment in Downtown Las Vegas. I had been hitting up the organizers for six months and finally received an email from them saying “sorry – we’re totally booked.” It was pretty crushing to receive that news, coincidentally the same day Insomniac announced they were holding a contest for a chance to perform on their stage. I had never entered a contest before but I wanted the opportunity so I thought fuck it.. time to win a contest!
ThatDrop: Did you have to encourage people to participate in the contest on your behalf? How much time did you spend recruiting people to vote for your selection (Daily? Weekly?)?
Ryan Lofty: The whole contest lasted about two weeks, I spent some time hustling and asking people to vote every day. My strategy was to genuinely reconnect with old friends and tell them the story and why I was doing it in the first place. I think that helped people get on board, knowing that I had actually been officially rejected and was still fighting to perform. A couple people had negative reactions because they dont like social media contests but whatever.
ThatDrop: What was your reaction when you found out you were selected for Life is Beautiful?
Ryan Lofty: I was incredibly happy! Playing my first festival was a major milestone.
ThatDrop: How did you ask Bill Nye to get involved with your festival performance?
Ryan Lofty: I was actually first introduced to Bill a few years ago by my friend Nick Pampenella who happens to be his agent. Bill was booked as a speaker at Life is Beautiful and Nick had flown in early the night before to hang out. We jokingly brought up the idea that Bill should come out and do a short piece on stage. Nick thought that it would be a cool thing for both of us and gave him a call. Bill agreed and we all started freaking out!
ThatDrop: How much planning went into getting Bill Nye to participate in the performance with you?
Ryan Lofty: A lot. There are a lot of moving parts to any festival and most things are planned well in advance, but in this case we had a matter of hours to get it all done. Cars to/from the airport/festival were moved, production and visuals were being worked out, runners and security were making game-time decisions, all sorts of things. To give you a better idea, about 40+ emails of coordination in the span of a couple hours.
ThatDrop: How did you get the festival to promote that Bill Nye was playing with you even though you had basically just won a contest to perform there?
Ryan Lofty: Because I had won my spot I had one of the first time slots available, just one hour after doors opened. When I was getting ready to go on, Nick started coordinating with the festival to send a push notification about Bill making a surprise appearance. At the beginning of my set there was maybe 20 people, this grew to a couple hundred while I was playing and when the push notification went out the crowd grew to around 2,000 people in the matter of minutes.
When the stage manager came up and tapped my shoulder to let me know Bill was there, it all really hit me. Bill f’n Nye was about to come on stage with me!
ThatDrop: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Ryan Lofty: Nothing. It was such a beautiful moment in life. Going from being told the festival was fully booked, to getting the support of so many people and winning a slot on the festival, to having one of my childhood heroes to come up on stage with me. Definitely an experience I’ll never forget.