Four Minutes, Four Questions with Sascha Stone Guttfreund

Four Minutes, Four Questions with Sascha Stone Guttfreund


On Oct. 5, Texas’ premier hip-hop festival expands to Rogers, making Northwest Arkansas one of the event’s first ventures outside of the Lone Star State. The JMBLYA music festival is known in Texas for curating lineups of the biggest national hip-hop acts, as well as up-and-comers, for a multi-day, multi-city traveling festival experience.

The inaugural Arkansas date was born out of partnership between LiveNation and music promotion network ScoreMore Shows. ScoreMore was acquired by the entertainment company in 2018, and the union has allowed ScoreMore to “play at the highest level, surrounded by all stars. The partnership empowers us to grow, to take chances, to bet on ourselves,” says founder Sascha Stone Guttfreund.

Guttfreund took a few minutes to answer these questions for What’s Up! ahead of JMBLYA’s Arkansas debut:

Q. What was the vision for JMBLYA when it was conceived? And as the festival has grown, what do you feel it contributes to the Texas music landscape that was missing before?

A. When we started JMBLYA, there weren’t any other hip-hop festivals, and the artists we were booking weren’t getting the love or attention from the bigger, more “mainstream” music festivals. … It’s obviously very different now. I think that when you look at the landscape in Texas, it’s important to consider the context. We’ve been doing hip-hop shows in Texas since 2010, starting early with artists and developing with them. Many fans within the state of Texas began to trust and rely on us as curators in the marketplace. It’s why we’re able to sell tickets to our festivals before we announce a lineup — whether it be on a first year festival or a festival returning. Fortunately, people trust us, and it’s our job to continue to deliver for them.

Q. Why the expansion? Why Northwest Arkansas? What indications are there that this is a good spot for the festival?

A. Now that we’re a part of the LiveNation family, we’re looking to grow more than ever and be entrepreneurial about our approach. One of the partners, someone we’ve known since the beginning, is Anthony Nicolaidis from the LiveNation Dallas office. Rogers is one of his markets, and he was passionate about us bringing the brand to Arkansas.

Our first festival out of Texas was in fact Dreamville Festival in Raleigh, N.C., this past April. We were able to see how this business model and team can scale out of state, and we’re excited about this event in Arkansas being a testament to that experience.

Because of the prevalence of University of Arkansas students hailing from Texas, Anthony insisted that the brand was strong enough to garner the same love that it does in Texas. We were concerned, and thought about launching a new brand instead, but we ultimately decided to go the other direction by bringing JMBLYA on the road, and we’re very glad we make that decision.

Q. What will differ and what will remain the same between the Arkansas date and the Texas festivals?

A. It’s our first time in Rogers, and so it’s tough to say what will differ quite yet. What we know will remain the same is our desire to make this a great experience for everyone — both fans and artists. Because this show is taking place inside of a venue, rather than a build-out outdoors, you’re going to have more access to infrastructure as well as seating, which doesn’t exist at our other JMBLYAs.

Q. Tell me about the lineup. Were these artists chosen based on how you anticipate they will play to the Arkansas audience? What experience were you looking to curate with this lineup?

A. We are curators, first and foremost. It’s how we got here. We booked the show we thought that the fans would love, but you never know. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. However, in this case, we must have done it right. From the onset, the sales were incredible. We’re grateful to see the warm response and are blown away as we see that the first-ever JMBLYA in Arkansas will sell out. We’re really excited about that.




Hip-hop Music Festival

WHEN — 7 p.m. Oct. 5

WHERE — Walmart AMP, Rogers

COST — $65-$225

INFO — 443-5600,,

Categories: Music