Bringing Style and Comfort to Music Festivals: Q&A with Gig Life Asia Founder, Priya Dewan

Priya has served as a North American Label Manager for UK-based label Warp Records, and was also an active member and board member of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and has been featured as Billboard Magazine’s “Top 30 Movers and Shakers under 30”.

Meet Priya Dewan, the founder of Gig Life Asia, the third culture kid (born in Manila, and grew up in Singapore/U.S.). She represents a new generation of entrepreneurs who specialize in an untapped creative niche here in Asia!

Having worked in New York for several years at Warp Records, eventually as Label Manager for North America, with artists like Grizzly Bear, Flying Lotus, Battles, and many other prominent independent artists.

LadyBoss caught up with Priya on her vision for the music industry.

Q: Tell us more about Feedback Asia and Gig Life Asia…

A: Sure thing! Feedback Asia is a booking agency and consultancy for international and regional wanting to tour in Asia and grow their presence in the market. As a booking agency we work exclusively with a specific roster of artists (Yuna, CHVRCHES, Bicep, etc), working closely with management to promote them in the market and find live opportunities. We also consult with artists, like Lauv, who have agents, making sure their live opportunities offer are supported by other forms of exposure.

Gig Life Asia is a portal for travelers who love music and the general festival experience. We offer information about most of the big concerts and festivals across Asia, with insider information about the best places to eat, drink, shop and visit while you are in the city for the show and to help plan you’re trip.  We have recently taken it a step further by offering curated travel packages to events like Wonderfruit Festival, Ultra SG, Bestival Bali and Erykah Badu. Our Clockenflap Hong Kong packages have just launched, as well.

Image credit: billboard
Image credit: billboard

We offer information about most of the big concerts and festivals across Asia, with insider information about the best places to eat, drink, shop and visit while you are in the city for the show and to help plan you’re trip.

Q: What’s your background and tell us about your experience working in New York overseeing A-list alternative acts?

A: My background has been in the music industry since college. I studied at Boston University and worked at the radio station there, interning for labels and rock clubs. I worked in NY for several years at Warp Records, eventually as Label Manager for North America, with artists like Grizzly Bear, Flying Lotus, Battles, !!! and many other prominent independent artists.

One of my favorite evenings was with Grizzly Bear who were performing at a gorgeous church in NY city. Paul Simon attended the show and I got to watch the entire show with him from a pew of the church. After that, in an entirely unrelated incident, their manager invited us to the after party of Saturday Night Live, where her other artist Feist was performing. It was a surreal night.

Q: What do you see in the untapped creative niche here in Asia?

A: I think we’re going to see a lot more collaboration of talent in Asia – be it between visual and musical artists or international and local artists or between regional artists.  Music is a universal language and we’re going to start to see how much so as artists from across the world start working together to create new sounds and experiences.

Q: What led you to Gig Life Asia and what are you working on now?

A: After a few years of traveling around the region with Feedback Asia, attending at least one festival or live show a month, it became apparent that I had a wealth of knowledge at my disposal that wasn’t currently available to the general public. There was no one-stop destination for all events across Asia. Witnessing the organic growth of festival tourism at the events I went to, I decided to create Gig Life Asia.  We also offer interesting perspectives of each city across Asia through our weekly newsletter where we speak to creative residents who share their local favorites.  We are are constantly working on new packages to offer an affordable and easy way for people to attend their favorite regional festivals with their friends.

I think we’re going to see a lot more collaboration of talent in Asia – be it between visual and musical artists or international and local artists or between regional artists.

Q: What are some of the gigs you’ve organized?

A: Some of the recent packages we have organised for Gig Life Asia are Bestival Bali, which was at the end of last month in the gorgeous GWK Park.  I was blown away by the gorgeous setting and the high level of production that the festival offered – ample restrooms, great food options, easy access to bars and stages, etc.  Our package hotel was a 15 min walk or 3 min cab ride from the venue and was filled with other festival goers, which made for a fun and relaxed environment.

Upcoming gigs on Gig Life Asia!

Q: What are the challenges you face & how do you overcome them?

A: The main challenge is in creating awareness for the website.  Asia is made up of many countries, each with their own media and tastemakers. I’m overcoming this by finding key partners in each territory who can help reach our audiences locally.

Q: What is success to you?

A: Success, in my opinion, is doing what I love, providing a great and unique service that brings happiness to many and supporting my lifestyle in the process.

Q: What your vision for the music industry in Asia? 

A: I have a vision for the music industry in Asia where fans appreciate the value of the music – through consuming music via paid subscription and buying tickets to live performances to support the artists and the teams around them.

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