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Noelle Chesnut Whitmore’s career path was set when she was just two years old. Born to musically savvy parents, her talent, even as a toddler, was singing.
As a teenager, she decided to turn her gift into a career and shopped her music around in the hopes of landing a record deal. During the process, Noelle was exposed to what she deemed as the “not-so-glamorous side” of the music business. Disappointed but undeterred, she refused to let go of her passion for music.
After high school, she enrolled at Cal State Northridge to pursue a degree in Music Industry Studies. She immersed herself in a handful of campus activities, as well as dabbled in artist management.
In 2009, 19-year-old Noelle and a mix of friends and family members were inspired to throw their first concert. They pooled funds – including financial aid money – to cover the costs, but the group had limited knowledge of the intricacies of producing a large-scale show. When it came to reaching out to book Trey Songz, the show’s headliner, Noelle was apprehensive.
“I was literally shaking,” she admitted. “But I said, alright, I’m just gonna cold call and see what happens. I remember calling his manager one day while I was at a gas station and said, ‘I want to book Trey Songz.’”
She eventually secured the booking and filled out the rest of the lineup with then-up-and-comers Miguel, YG and Tyga. But despite the attractive lineup, a surprise appearance by Drake, weeks of planning, and tactful promotional efforts, the show lost money.
“As a young person losing the amount of money that I did off of that first concert, those types of situations break people,” she said.
But the steep, painful learning curve was integral for her career. In her current role as the Festival Marketing Manager for Goldenvoice, Noelle often uses the same tactics she picked up as a concert promoter on festivals such as Coachella, Camp Flog Gnaw and multiple others.
She ensures that the goals for ticket sales are consistently met by using multiple marketing efforts like building websites, creating attention-grabbing copy, building mobile apps, and allocating proper funds to advertising plans. She often extends her efforts beyond music by cultivating partnerships with sports teams to include in-game participation and ticket giveaways. But because live music fans now have a plethora of options to spend their money on, Noelle and her team must be able to make Goldenvoice’s festivals stand out amongst the rest.
“The artists play a huge role in promoting a festival,” she noted. “Our job as marketers is to make sure that we amplify that. There are a bunch of different stories and ways that we’re communicating and pushing the information to the fans so that they’re informed to decide on purchasing a ticket.”
Noelle’s perspective of her success varies. Professionally, she has already clocked feats such as assisting in the operations and communications for Kanye West’s Sunday Service performance at Coachella. She also prides herself on her ability to thrive after overcoming hardship.
“Looking back, I’m thankful that I had the level of tenacity, even when I was facing adversity, to get up and say that was dope, that was fun, and that was a lesson. Now, how can I do better?”