Quinn Donahue landed an internship working for Charles Attal Presents, one of the country’s biggest independent promotion companies, and learned the ropes of talent buying for the Austin City Limits music festival, among others.Donahue, a fifth-year senior, took a semester off of school in order to secure a future in the Austin music industry when he graduates in December.
“This is what I want to do in the future and there was no other way to gain the experience,” Donahue said.
Marketing professor John Thompson had Donahue in four of his classes and said that it is a good idea to take a semester off to pursue an internship in your field of interest.
“Leaving for a semester is OK and a lot of students should do that in order to have a better idea of what they want to focus their careers on,” Thompson said. “Quinn is a better student for doing it because it gives him focus.”
Donahue landed the highly coveted position from previous work he did with Superfly Productions, another independent promotion company that handles Banaroo, the annual music and arts festival that takes place in Manchester, Tenn.
“The music industry is tough to break into because so many people want to be apart of it,” Huston Powell, Donahue’s employer and promoter for CAP, said.
Powell said that because of his experience, Donahue knew how to run shows, how to book bands and was ready to get his hands dirty in order to learn more.
“The internship gave Quinn an inside on what really goes on,” Powell said. “Bands don’t just show up at venues and play, and he learned all of the little things that go into making a festival like Austin City Limits happen.”
Donahue had an advantage because of all of his previous work experience, but that is not why he was hired, Powell said.
“You can’t just like music and know the names of bands,” Powell said. “You have to have a passion for music, a humble attitude and be an extremely hard worker because most of the work isn’t very glamorous.”
Thompson said Donahue is very studious, thoughtful and hardworking.
Some of the duties Donahue was in charge of while working for CAP included briefing and tracking band contracts, making sure the ticket allotment was correct and gathering all of the MP3’s that are currently streaming on the ACL Web site.
“I tried to pick a favorite song of mine from the band or one that people would be familiar with,” Donahue said.
Powell said Donahue has great taste in music and was able to keep his composure around the bands, some of which are his idols, and that is extremely important.
“We are dealing with the biggest talent agencies in the world representing the biggest bands in the world,” Powell said. “You have to be humble and eager to help in any way you can and that is exactly what Quinn brought to the table.”
After working for free all summer preparing for the festival, Donahue will be attending ACL as a guest – VIP, of course.
Donahue says that ACL is the perfect environment for listening to music, and that a majority of the music at the festival is nothing like what you hear on MTV.
“I want to kick back, relax and enjoy the music,” Donahue said. “Some people see concerts in order to see a well-known band play live, but the fun of going to ACL is the discovery of new music.”
In his last semester at TCU, Donahue will accumulate the credits he needs to graduate with a degree in marketing. He is also the pledge trainer for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
“Quinn is on the right track to succeed greatly in the music industry,” Powell said. “This is a relationship business and Quinn has worked for two of the biggest independent promotion labels in the country and has the kind of demeanor that will ensure great success.”
When Donahue graduates in December he will gain the title of assistant talent buyer for CAP in his hometown of Austin.
“In five years I would like to do the talent buying for festivals, and in 20 years … I would love to own my own venue, but let’s see where it takes me,” Donahue said.