Biasha Mitchell is currently in a world of tech as the head of Music Business Strategy and Solutions at Eventbrite, one of the biggest ticketing companies in the world.
“On the music strategy side of my role I get to think about the music business as a whole and how Eventbrite can leverage technology, particularly mobile technology, to create outstanding ticketing and marketing solutions for music festivals and venues,” she told Amplify.
However, Biasha’s interest in events didn’t start with tech. They started when she was growing up as a part of a hippie commune. The Hog Farm, mostly known for its involvement in the original Woodstock festival, is active in the music industry. During Biasha’s time, the commune would run a daycare backstage at Grateful Dead concerts.
“Think Bingo for prizes and really cool arcade games!” she said.
From there, Biasha has done just about every job in the music business. At the age of 13, she worked with Mary Conde and Colleen Kennedy in the production office of The Jerry Garcia Band. During her time at Stanford in 1998, she was a security guard at Shoreline Amphitheatre and after that, she was a production runner for touring bands that came through the Bay Area.
Now that Biasha is an exec at Eventbrite, she works on all kinds of live events including non-music festivals and conferences.
“My absolute favorite thing about working in live events is that moment when everyone is in and you can survey the crowd and realize you pretty much touched every person there,” Biasha said. “There is nothing like the power of the live experience to bring people together. It cannot be recreated in a video game or on TV, and that is what I love most about my job.”
Want to know more about what it’s like to grow up backstage at Grateful Dead concerts? Keep on reading for that and more of Biasha’s favorite shows.
Jay Z at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, June 2010
I managed credentials for Bonnaroo for six years. One of the few shows I caught was Jay Z crushing the main stage. In my exhausted delirious state (try checking in tens of thousands of credentials across two locations for the largest festival in the country), I hugged my co-manager and best friend, Stephany Arroyo, and we watched Jay Z own that enormous stage. His NYC skyline in the background looked odd in opposition to the rural Tennessee festival site.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real at Kate Wolf Music Festival in Laytonville, CA, June 2015
My family has a large farm in rural Northern California called the Black Oak Ranch. We host a few festivals and a performing arts and circus camp up on the property, including the Kate Wolf Music Festival. Lukas Nelson performed a small set on our “Owl Stage” from midnight to 2AM on the Saturday of the festival. I only caught the last four songs, but they were incredible. I watched Lukas embody something between his dad (Willie Nelson) and Neil Young and captivate the small crowd of festival-goers gathered standing on hay bales around the stage. When he was finally done, the hippies left standing did not take Instagram photos or post to their social feeds. Instead they felt compelled to walk up to the stage and simply thank, touch and hug Lukas. I’ve never seen anything like it as Lukas’ young soul and the old souls in the audience hugged it out until late into the night.
Prince & 3rdEyeGirl at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA, March 2014
My good friend, Michael Bailey, of the iconic Fillmore in SF called me up last minute and asked me if I’d like to attend the late night show for my birthday. I’m always game for a musical adventure. After an epic set that put the crowd into a lather and several encores, everyone was spent and finally leaving the building, me included. As I hopped down the last few steps of the Fillmore stairwell, I heard Purple Rain begin to pump out of the speakers. Everyone on the stairs turned and ran back into the house and Prince played to about 100 remaining people gathered around the stage in awe. I guess everyone else knows never to leave a Prince show early ever ever, but I sure got lucky!
Bill Graham Memorial: Laughter, Love and Music featuring Santana, Journey, CSNY, Grateful Dead, etc. at San Francisco Polo Fields, 1991
The Hog Farm was enlisted to pick up trash for the historic free Bill Graham Memorial concert at the Polo Fields in San Francisco that took place just after Bill died in 1991. I was only 13 at the time, but I remember the concert vividly. We had one backstage pass between our entire group and we took turns using it to go backstage and up on the hill next to the stage to look out over the sea of humanity. 300,000+ fans filled the Polo Grounds end-to-end and spilled out into the surrounding area. It was quite an unforgettable experience!
Grateful Dead New Year’s Eve, 1990-91
As kids at New Year’s shows, we would race each other from one backstage entrance out through the twirlers, across the floor and back through another backstage entrance. I remember being shepherded with all the other kids to the very top row of the Oakland Coliseum to watch the New Year’s moment. The last year Bill Graham was alive, he descended from the ceiling of the Coliseum dressed in tribal garb as some kind of shaman. It was impressive with his face and body entirely painted red and lots of feathers. After the show, us kids were hanging out in the nook above the cab of Bill’s RV, as we often liked to do, while Bill signed posters of his epic descent at midnight. I remember I really really wanted a poster signed by Bill. I asked Bob Barsotti, who worked closely with Bill and is part of my extended family, if he could ask Bill to sign one for me. He told me that if I wanted a signed poster by Bill, I’d have to ask him myself. I was too shy to muster up the courage to ask him and I never got that poster. Bill passed away in a tragic helicopter accident not long after. Whenever I think about being too shy to ask for something, I think about that night and that show.