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Hip-hop festival was Tailor Made by fan vote

Buffalo's summer festival season is nearly over, but not before Tailor Made can make its much-awaited debut. The freshman music festival is set to kick off its inaugural run at 1 p.m. Sept. 2 at Canalside (44 Prime St.).

Brainchild of the crowd-funding company Fanbassador, the voter-driven hip-hop and EDM festival, which is set to include performances from Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Waka Flocka Flame, flips the script by putting lineup curation in the hands of the fans.

"The idea actually came from a meeting we had with a local radio station when we were discussing their annual summer concert series," explained Fanbassador CEO Chris Ring. "We were talking about how fans are never happy with the final line ups and it kind of just clicked. Why not let the fans pick the line up? The idea seemed crazy, but after really thinking about it, we really wanted to pursue it and thus, Tailor Made was made."

Rapper Travis Scott co-headlines the TailorMade Music Festival at Canalside. (Getty Images)

When the festival was originally announced, the lineup included headliners Travis Scott and 2 Chainz. Then fans were provided with a pool of more than 20 artists to vote on over 10 days to choose the final lineup which now also includes Waka Flocka Flame, PnB Rock, Smokepurpp, DVBBS and Keys n Krates.

"Being a new concept, a lot of artists were taken back. They have used the same traditional booking model for 50-plus years and now all of sudden we are asking them to be a little vulnerable by letting their fans make the decision for them. It was a tough sell and took a lot of time...We are trying to break the mold here."

Big names aside, Tailor Made is sticking to its roots by proudly including local talent Bill Saber and Dolo Chillin.

"First and foremost, we are a Buffalo company. We are all Buffalo entrepreneurs who are afforded the ability to do what we do because of local support," Ring said. "It was only fitting that we included local artists on this platform, giving them the ability to be a part of a big, brand new festival in Buffalo. Hopefully helping them with an event like this can help these guys further their careers."

The non-traditional format has certainly been a major hit with the music community. Fanbassador's first client, Buffalo's Cute is What We Aim For, received thousands of fan votes to have the pop-punk band come to their city.

As for Tailor Made, the fan engagement model seems to have carried over just fine to the festival circuit.

"The response was very impressive," says Marketing Director Brittany Smykowski. "Within just the 10-day voting period, we had over 15,000 votes on our website. Voting granted you access to an early-bird ticket and we saw a nice conversion in fans voting and then purchasing their ticket to the show."

With months of hard work (finishing touches were completed as recently as June) ready for its payoff, Ring is most looking forward to his festival curators finally enjoying a lineup of their liking.

"For me it's the fans. The fans truly put this lineup together," Ring said. "To watch the thousands of people come downtown and enjoy a day of hip-hop and EDM music at a festival they helped create is pretty cool."


Tailor Made Music Festival

Gates open at 1 p.m. Sept. 2 at Canalside. Tickets are $55 general ($65 at the gate) and $100 VIP and can be  purchased here. The concert is rain or shine.


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