If you don't know who Grace Potter is yet, you will. She is the sexy wild front-woman of the rock band Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Her band hosts a festival, Grand Point North, in September in her home state of Vermont on Burlington Champlain's waterfront.
For the past three years I've worked for the festival doing check-in, where I've gotten a behind-the-scenes look at how a successful, authentic, grassroots business is run. Here's what I learned:
1. Hire people who are geniuses at what they do.
Grace doesn't hire anyone who is incompetent. Every single person on staff is in his or her zone of genius and returns to work the festival year after year. Since Grace is confident that everything is going to be taken care of, she and the other members of the band have nothing to worry about besides showing up and doing what they do best, which is rocking their fans' worlds.
2. Give your best every single time.
It doesn't matter if it's Grace's 100th show in a row, she brings everything she's got to every performance. She gives everyone in the audience the time of their lives every time she takes the stage. She recognizes that the people in the crowd used their hard-earned money to buy tickets to the show and because of this, Grace performs every show for them.
3. Dress the way you want to.
Back in the day, Grace used to wear flannels and jeans — a far cry from the sexy, sequined numbers she wears today. She has been quoted many times saying that when she was wearing those baggy clothes, she did it because she didn't want to be seen as sexy. She wanted people to notice her for her talent and not her looks, even though she secreted wanted to wear flashier, sexier clothing. Eventually she decided she didn't care what people thought and dressed the way she wanted to. Once she embraced the way she truly wanted to be on stage, her career took off.
4. Pay it forward.
At the Grand Point North Festival, Grace gives small bands from Vermont the chance to play on a big stage. During her encores, she often brings out artists from those same bands to rock out with her. Grace's passion for her state and community aligns with every aspect of the festival: from the choice of vendors to the food backstage to the artwork that's displayed on the concert grounds.
5. Express gratitude for your peeps.
During Grace Potter's show she is constantly expressing gratitude to the fans who showed up to see her perform, her sound guy, her tour manager, her light guy, her band, her friends and her family. She not only shares her gratitude publicly with the crowd, but she continues that attitude backstage after the show. It's not uncommon to find her hugging every single person who made her show possible.
6. Be yourself, whoever that is.
On stage, Grace Potter rocks out with her hair flailing all over the place, barefoot, banging on a drum, singing her heart out in a designer gown. Offstage, she's dressed in jeans, cracking jokes, laughing 'til she cries, sipping on a local brew, and having conversations with new and old friends. She's a down to earth rock star.