When I tell people what I do for a living, I usually always get the same response…
“That’s the coolest job in the world.”
Then they follow it up with a question.
“What’s that like?”
It’s a simple question, but the answer is far from simple. How do you simply reply to that when you work with legends? What do you say to someone you just met when they ask you about what it’s like to spend your day working with creative geniuses?
Welcome to Shed Chat, a place for you and I to have a conversation about what life is like here at The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson. My name is Josh Formont and I am the one in charge of all Shed Operations. I’m the one with the coolest job in the world. I book all the artists, run the show, and spend my time working with the greatest traveling musicians the world has to offer. I get to stand side stage and see the most amazing shows on a weekly basis. I get to share stories with the most talented artists of this day and age and hope that just a little of their coolness rubs off on me.
In this blog, I will be keeping everyone up to date about the ins and outs of The Shed. I’ll let people in on what goes on backstage, how things all come together, and even share some of the amazing stories these artists bring with them when they come to perform. But this isn’t just an introduction of what’s to come, it’s a full on start to the coolest story on the planet.
I’m originally from the Chattanooga area of Tennessee; Cleveland to be exact. I grew up there comfortably and moved to Knoxville when I was a teen to start college at UT. I graduated and immediately began working in radio. After years in the business, I moved to Lexington, KY to run sporting events. While music was my true love, it wasn’t making me much money. There wasn’t much of an opportunity to turn it into a career. Then opportunity came knocking… It was like destiny or something ridiculous like that. They wanted me to come run The Shed. How could I say no?
So I found myself back in Tennessee, my home, in a whole new ballgame. Suddenly, I was thrown to the lions. Contracts, negotiations, management teams, agencies, riders, production, promotions, advertising, marketing, budgets; the list goes on. The music business is just that, business. But that’s not what this blog is for, that’s the Monday through Friday. This blog is for the Saturday night excitement that comes from the passion in the music we host.
Passion. That’s the best word to describe what I get to see on a regular basis. It’s rare nowadays. Mundane has become what’s common. Everyone is just kind of set in their ways. They go to work, they come home, they go to work, they come home, over and over. Passion is becoming more and more uncommon. But not here, we have passion in abundance. Passion for art, passion to perform, passion for motorcycles, passion for music, passion to actually LIVE life. Not just go through the routine. Live… I get to see people live. It’s contagious.
This might be confusing, aren’t we all living? Technically, yeah. But are you coasting through life? Or are you actively making memories? That’s the kind of living I’m talking about, the active kind. Need some examples of this passion?
Ray Wylie Hubbard is a Texas music legend. He’s the kind of guy that no one would blame if he sit at the hotel room until time to go on stage and then went straight back to the room. He’s paid his dues. Yet, even at his age, he still actively makes a point to speak to you. He and I sat on the couch before his show for thirty minutes talking about everything you can imagine. His new record may be the best he’s ever done, but that hasn’t changed him. One of my crew brought in a present someone had left for him. He opened it and saw some paper art birds that someone had made for him. He didn’t know whoever left the gift, but he recognized that they took time to make them. He didn’t go all “big shot” about it and set them aside to get thrown away like most would have done, instead he fashioned a string and hung them from his guitar. He played the whole show with them hanging from his guitar. Someone’s night had to have been made because of this.
Billy Joe Shaver is the essence of passion. After what may have been his best show ever at The Shed, he walked up to me and began talking about how it was his son’s birthday. Now Billy Joe lost his son twenty years ago in a horrible drug related death. It’s a pain all parents fear and hope they never have to go through, the loss of a child. No one could possibly blame Billy Joe for feeling emotional about it, but he wasn’t emotional for himself, he was worried about the people. He explained to me that his son’s death was heavy on his mind all day and that he hoped it hadn’t affected the show. He really was truly concerned that people who had bought tickets and came to see him had a good time. He didn’t care about his own emotions, he was only concerned about his fans. That’s a passion for performing. I assured him the show was amazing. He was appreciative.
That’s living. That’s passion. That’s what we do at The Shed.
So stay tuned to Shed Chat to get more stories like those above. Stay tuned to hear the answers to the question, “what’s it like to have the coolest job in the world?”
Spoiler alert: it’s incredible.