Festivals In Focus: Q&A With 4 Peaks Music Festival’s Stacy Koff

Get insights from an independent promoter about the challenges and rewards of hosting memorable music festivals.

By Team JamBase May 2, 2024 10:38 am PDT

Live music festivals continue to grow in popularity and diversity as the landscape shifts and responds to trends and technological changes. JamBase reached out to several independent promoters of music festivals for insights into the challenges and rewards of hosting memorable events. This installment presents a Q&A with Stacy Koff of 4 Peaks Music Festival.

Bend, Oregon’s 4 Peaks Music Festival dates back to 2007 when original festival partner Eric Walton asked Stacy Koff to help throw “a small backyard music festival at [his] house in Bend.” From there the event quickly expanded to a 40-acre, 15-band affair and over the prevailing years has constantly evolved and grown, making it back to full scale after smaller gatherings were held during the pandemic.


This year’s four-day 4 Peaks Music Festival presents music across three stages at the idyllic setting of Bend’s Stevenson Ranch from June 20 – 23. 4 Peaks 2024 will feature performances by by Neal Francis, ALO, Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country, Southern Avenue, Diggin’ Dirt, Miko Marks, Tray Wellington, Ural Thomas & The Pain, Pixie & The Partygrass Boys, Magnolia Boulevard and Broken Compass Bluegrass, among others. The festival will also feature a “Silent Disco Takeover” by Mobile Dance Party including a live set from Call Down Under.

Held annually to coincide with the summer solstice, the family-friendly 4 Peaks will once again welcome children to its “Kidlandia” for workshops, craft-making, scavenger hunts and other activities for little ones. Additionally, Nicole Baumann will lead 4 Peaks’ morning yoga sessions.

4 Peaks Music Festival 2024 general admission passes, teen passes and camping/RV passes are on sale now. Get 4 Peaks Music Festival tickets via SeeTickets.US.

Ahead of this year’s event, 4 Peaks Music Festival’s Stacy Koff shared her thoughts and insights into the world of independent music festival promotion. Scroll on to read her Q&A.

What got you into the world of independent festivals/promotions?

When I lived in Telluride, Colorado, I volunteered for a variety of the festivals that take place there almost every weekend in the summer; with T-ride Bluegrass being very near and dear to my heart and soul! When I moved to Bend in 2002, there wasn’t a multi-day, camping, family-friendly music festival. I got approached by a friend about starting a festival in 2002, as they knew my background in Telluride, and here I am 22 years in.

Did you have a mentor(s) or an education in the space?

I did not! I wish I did.

What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now?

Other than how much of a labor of love they are (semi-joking)? I now know that my demographic and audience like and appreciate the smaller type of festival with families, intimate vibes and spaces, lots of quality vendors, higher end beverages/food kept at lower costs. When we started out, I think my team (now it’s just me) thought the community wanted a large-scale festival (which Bend now can handle with its size) with too much going on, and that was not the case in hindsight!

What are 3 things you wish concert attendees knew about hosting and promoting an independent music festival?

1. How expensive everything has gotten in the industry and that the musicians aren’t paid as much as they deserve.

2. It is a year round endeavor that is the same amount of work whether small or larger scale, and in order to plan and budget an event of this magnitude, it’s important that people buy EARLY if possible (the tickets are also more reasonable).

3. The musicians that play (at least on the 4 Peaks stages) early, could be your next and new favorite band – GO SEE THE OPENERS and the early-in-the-day bands, they deserve equal amounts of patronage. Every band started somewhere. 4 Peaks examples: Fruition in 2012, Greensky Bluegrass in 2013 and 2018, Sierra Hull in 2017, Molly Tuttle in 2018, Billy Strings in 2019, the list goes on (moe., Infamous Stringdusters, Karl Denson, Ron Artis, and hundreds more) and now Daniel Donato and Neal Francis in 2024.

Molly Tuttle – 4 Peaks 2018

4 Peaks Music Festival (See 6 videos)
Molly Tuttle (See 68 videos)

What is your favorite thing about promoting independent music festivals?

I cherish the looks on people’s faces (kids, too!) while they’re having a blast, smiling and dancing. I love that moment when the festival commences. I like offering a platform that LOTS of up-and-coming bands benefit from; being on the stage, collaborating with other artists and the “Super Jams” that happen sometimes. There are SO many talented artists at festivals and magic that can happen, unlike a single show at a venue.

What’s a favorite festival that you’ve attended or worked on and why?

Hands down the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Telluride Jazz Festival. They are both in the most magical place, in the most magical setting, and the people who attend REALLY want to be there, are attentive and motivated, and show respect to the bands on the stages. The whole community comes out and shows support for festivals, the non-profits involved, and the musicians. The bands are usually SO SO happy to be there, it shows in the way they play, interact with staff, and the smiles from ear to ear are a tell-tale. The people I had worked with in that area, all share a common interest, bond, and lifestyle. It’s priceless!

How has the indie festival promotion business changed post-pandemic?

Well, first off, it almost forced me to close down, due to March (especially in 2020) being close enough to 4 Peaks, that I really lost lots of traction and money due to the timing of the pandemic (like many). I believe that there are processes in place to protect the artists, the promoters, and others; so there is a lot more due-diligence ahead of time. There is also a lot more fear I believe in the booking process, rules and language in contracts, the lack of trust with some uncertainty of events, and the price of everything sky-rocketing!

People are now having to pay a lot more for festivals and don’t realize, its not a promoters choice to raise prices.

Billy Strings – 4 Peaks 2019

4 Peaks Music Festival (See 6 videos)
Billy Strings (See 738 videos)

Are there any trends you see taking shape over the next couple of years?

Part of me hates to say this out loud – but the bigger the better, the more glamorous the fest, the more it sells, and the bigger the corporation is that’s involved, the more successful they seem to be. With that said, I DO see a trend — in certain towns — of people still wanting the small, independent, boutique (but not break the bank), easy access, family-friendly festivals that have less going on, and are more about the community gathering and making memories!

What is the best advice you can give to someone looking to attend a festival in 2024?

Buy early and tell your friends… Bands do not get large if no one is there to see them.

Festival At-a-Glance


The JamBase Festival Guide is consistently growing with the addition of new music fests happening globally.



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