Another amazing summer came and went and I've been reminiscing on new accomplishments and incredible memories I made on the Tesla/Poison/Def Leppard tour. It wasn't until the bus rolled up to Tinley Park on the second to last night of tour that it all truly sunk in and hit me.
It was just like any other day for everyone else but to me it was one of those full circle, pinch me moments.
Rolling into the venue that day, I flashed backed to 16 year old Tammy and her dream of one day rolling into that very venue on a tour, doing something, anything, in the industry. This was before photography/videography, before event production at FM Entertainment + interning at Toyota Park, before moving to Nashville, before working with Tom and all the cruises, before I helped my sister open her salon - before every experience that aligned for me to end up there that morning...
During my summers in high school, I worked VIP guest services at (then called First Midwest Bank Amphitheater) Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Chicago. Since my first rock show there (Ozzfest!) at 14, I was obsessed with going to concerts and a summer job that was going to get me closer to them was a perfect place to show up to.
So I did show up. With my head high, I scanned tickets, put wristbands on + told our guests to enjoy their show. Then from afar, I would hear the sweet, sweet sounds of a live concert and a crowd going wild. I would stand out there on the concourse and daydream of how badass it would be to be a part of making those huge shows happen. I'd go home, write out that dream and would promise myself to keep going out there to find where I was going to be valuable asset in that world. I had no connections, zero musical or event experience .... only a journal full of ambitions under my belt but that wasn't going to stop me from trying and committing myself to it.
So I kept going out there and showing up. I took countless music business and even live sound classes. I spent time at shows and always introduced myself to promoters/venue owners/ etc to let them know I would help out if they ever needed it. I would drive around and pass out show flyers and drive the runner vans. I even got thrown into the stadium catering/hospitality world and faked it til I made it. I answered phones and directed calls, faxed out riders/contracts while learning the talent buying world and soo many other things but it was that one day that I randomly decided to bring a camera to a show that I found my purpose. With a click of a button, my life changed.
I had zero knowledge of how a camera worked but I was determined to learn. Trial and error, show after show, book after book, YouTube video after YouTube video, I finally caught on. I wasn't good at all. I was terrible in fact, and people made sure I knew that.
That's the scary part of starting anything new, you won't be very good at first but you can't let that (or people's opinion) stop you from doing your very best. Without anyone trying to doubt me and what I would accomplish I probably wouldn't have gotten too far. Those people and situations make you stronger and create a fire within those who have the courage to start anything new and unfamiliar. It's not easy but it's worth it.
It felt amazing to have the opportunity to be behind the scenes this summer. I remember that day at Tinley Park in June... setting up our world during the day and then standing on that stage with purpose that night. Capturing the energy of the Poison show in my hometown... at the same venue I attended my first rock show and the same venue I worked and daydreamed at out on the concourse.
I didn't know how much time it would take to get there but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Working with Poison and all the amazing people on that tour was such a blessing. You may see people doing awesome things and think "man, they are lucky" but deep down only we truly know how the journey unfolded and the ups and downs it took to get somewhere that no one ever believed you would.
What I'm getting to is, the fact that even tho I tried, failed, tried, succeeded and tried and failed at different jobs in the industry I knew in my heart that if I kept going I would eventually find my path and make a difference. I knew I had to keep showing up to the place that made me feel the most alive until I found my purpose.
All the different gigs I did in the industry shaped me to be who I am today and added layers of experience to my career and my soul. I do it all with my head held high and I'll continue to learn and use the knowledge and experiences thus far to lead me on to more adventures.
If you're doubting your path or still haven't found your calling - keep going out there and surrounding yourself doing the things you love, with good people who inspire and lift you up. One day you will look around and your dream WILL become a reality. You must stay committed and believe in the journey even when times get hard, and they will get hard... but those lows are not permanent.
+ remember ... if there are people out there throwing salt on your name, let them keep on seasoning your sauce, honey. One day you'll go so far you won't hear 'em anymore 🗣_______________ 💁🏼
I hope that this little video and story helps someone out there wanting to go after what they want or someone who may be at a crossroads. I can't tell you how many times I've failed and cried, wanting to quit and throw in the towel. Then I sit here and I reflect on this accomplishment and I see what I would have missed out on if I stopped believing in myself.