“It’s a long shot any way you go in the music business,” Mike Vosters says. “Everytime I hear about a concert I get this twinge inside telling me to get involved.” Vosters, a sophomore marketing major, spent years playing the alto saxophone before college but just considered the business side of the music industry as a possible career path within the last year. He said his biggest regret when he started at TCU was his lack of involvement in the music world.
So get involved he did. Along with two other TCU students, Ryan Mitts and former Frogs wide receiver Mike DePriest, he decided to find a way to promote and create events that would be accessible to everyone as opposed to the typical fraternity mixers. The pair felt there was a niche that had not been filled where affordabibility met quality for college students, and the two wanted to bring a seemingly divided campus together. The result? The creation of Level 19 Entertainment, a company that promotes and organizes events around Fort Worth.
Mitts, a senior marketing and finance major, said he has been around music all his life but, like Vosters, just began to view it as a possible career path in the last year.
“The first time I got really fired up about it was as social chair of my fraternity,” Mitts said.
DePriest, a senior sociology major, started doing promotional work for fraternity parties about six years ago with his brother and has continued his work through Level 19 Entertainment.
Vosters and Mitts are both members of Pi Kappa Phi and met when Vosters went through recruitment last year.
Mitts and Vosters also worked together at Universal Music Group Distribution in Irving this summer and spent a lot of time brainstorming about their future plans for the company.
“We figured we’d give it a shot,” Vosters said. Mitts contacted DePriest through Facebook and they began doing events together.
“We liked how we worked together,” DePriest said. “Mike is a little younger, but he has a lot of passion for getting out there working and marketing.”
All three eventually ended up together.
Level 19 Entertainment was born out of an apparent hole in the college entertainment sector of Fort Worth, and specifically, TCU.
Mitts said he wanted to find a way to provide good music to larger groups of people as opposed to two or three specific Greek organizations at a time without burdening the college students’ wallet.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do is provide better experiences for everyone, and we can do it at a better price,” Mitts said.
Level 19 Entertainment made its first debut in February with its “Funkytown Get Down” event that ended up drawing about 800 people to the stockyards.
“‘Funkytown Get Down’ was a pretty big success, and that’s when we thought, ‘Hey, we could do this long-term,'” DePriest said.
They decided to register themselves as an official company early this summer.
The trio is in the process of solidifying their individual roles within the company now.
At this point, Vosters handles most booking as well as content writing, DePriest is in charge of business development due to his previous experience with club owners and Mitts oversees the overall strategy, finances and presentation.
“We each have our different strengths,” Vosters said. “We all work well together.”
The three partners are looking to find their balance and hone their skills. They have built relationships with several business owners in Fort Worth and book talent for multiple venues, in addition to putting on events like the “Worlds Collide” concert with Atlanta-based rap duo The Ying Yang Twins that took place early in the semester.
They are contracted with a restaurant on Camp Bowie called Fuego and bring in live music every Friday and Saturday night. Vosters said the trio is working to build a lounge scene there.
“It’s a really nice place and one of the best patios I’ve seen in the area,” Vosters said.
The trio has also done a couple of postgame parties at Esoterica Salon and plans to continue with those throughout the semester.
Level 19 Entertainment works with all kinds of bands and several genres of music and when it comes to promotions, they are well prepared.
The trio uses Web Sites, surveys, e-mail campaigns, posters and any other avenue available to market their shows. Their attention to detail has paid off.
Vosters praised Mitts on his extensive personal network of contacts and his ability to maintain those relationships and turn them into events.
Level 19 Entertainment has a lot of management contacts, says Vosters, and only works with booking agents when there is no other option.
“They’re trying to get all they can out of you,” Vosters said.
The trio is looking to present the best quality in the most accessible way to their audience, and agents are an obstacle they’d rather avoid.
Mitts said they are looking to expand the company beyond TCU in the future.
“We try to live by the motto ‘When the experience matters’ and make the experience matter to our audience,” DePriest said.