Life Is Good Draws 30,000 to New Family-Focused Music Fest

By Erin L. Souza September 14, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

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Boston-based apparel company Life Is Good joined forces with Superfly Presents, the minds behind the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands music festivals, to introduce a new family-focused music festival. The two-day event brought 30,000 people—including 5,000 kids—to Canton’s Prowse Farm for a weekend of music, games, food, and philanthropy, all to benefit the Life Is Good Kids Foundation.

The Life Is Good Festival’s musical performances took over three separate stages, including the Good Kids stage, which was devoted to family-friendly artists such as Dan Zanes & Friends and the Laurie Berkner Band. Headliners Ben Harper, Guster, Corinne Bailey Ray, and Jason Mraz played live on two other stages over the course of the weekend.

Life Is Good’s optimistic vibe permeated the festival activities, with a Good Kids games section, a Good Karma entertainment area (with a seed-spitting contest, a hula hoop zone, an instrument petting zoo, and a rock-climbing wall), a Good Move area presented by Reebok with a home-run derby, boccie ball, disc toss, and other games, and an area sponsored by Wet Ones, dubbed Chillville—a space to relax on comfy cushions, change diapers, and learn yoga.

The overall goal was to raise both awareness and funds for the Life Is Good Kids Foundation, whose mission is helping children overcome life-threatening challenges such as illness, poverty, and violence. “Building awareness of the Kids Foundation is more important than the money we raise,” said Life Is Good chief executive optimist Bert Jacobs, who co-founded the company with brother and chief creative officer John Jacobs. Life Is Good will donated all of the weekend's $500,000 proceeds from the festival to their Kids Foundation.

“The value of this event is that the fan is at the center of the equation,” said Rich Goodstone, co-founder of Superfly Presents and head of Superfly Marketing Group. “This wouldn’t have worked on simply a marketing level; we really believe in what we’re doing, and Life Is Good is living everything they stand for.”

That strategy was put into practice in several ways: Security staff wore Life Is Good T-shirts with the word “Safety” across the back, recycling and post-show cleanup was a focus, and in lieu of a V.I.P. section, a V.G.P. area for “very good people” provided exclusive experiences, catered meals, gift bags, and special access to contributors who raised more than $250 or more than $1,000 for the Kids Foundation.

The Chase Freedom lounge, a partnership between Superfly and Chase that has appeared at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, was an exclusive space for  cardholders. The enclosed tent featured meet-and-greets with performers, including a private performance by Guster, plus a photo booth, CD-recording area, and refreshments. Chase Freedom also presented a $25,000 donation to the Life Is Good Kids Foundation to help fund the production of a children’s music CD dedicated to Haitian relief efforts.

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