Sarah Armiento is the powerhouse behind Hot Tramp Festival, a five-day festival (August 28th-September 1st 2019) in Montreal that Pink Things is very proud to sponsor. The festival will be held at the Diving Bell Social Club and Citizen Vintage, featuring artists like Sorry Girls, Maryze and L.A. Foster. Pink Things will be publishing a series of interviews and photo editorials leading up to the festival, starting off with the Sarah, boss babe of of Hot Tramp.
Malaika Astorga, our Creative Director shot and interviewed Sarah earlier this month to talk about the festival, Hot Tramp Management and the music industry.
Malaika Astorga for Pink Things: How did you initially get involved with the music world? Has it always been something that you’ve been interested in?
Sarah for Hot Tramp: I actually moved to Montreal from Toronto about three years ago to do my Masters in Economics. I knew economics was not something I wanted to pursue for my career but I guess I was doing it to buy myself time until I figured out something else to do. After about four months in Montreal when I was bored, lacking friends, and extremely uninspired, I by chance stumbled into St-Henri DIY venue The Bog for a show. It was the first place I’d been since moving here that felt right so I immediately decided that I needed to get involved. The next day I messaged the Bog gang offering to help out. I started out on door then to bar then to booking the majority of shows there all within a year. Shortly after finishing my degree, it so happened that two of the Bog owners were opening up a new spot called The Diving Bell Social Club, so I moved over there with them and now do the booking for that venue. So really The Bog was the root of my future moves in the Montreal music world and for this I will always be grateful. THANKS BOG!
Pink Things: For those who don’t know a lot about music, could you explain what artist management and PR entails?
Hot Tramp: Artist management has no concrete job description. It’s really just doing everything possible to secure your artist opportunities and to free up space for them to focus on their music. I’d say it’s about 90% schmoozing and 10% random tasks like grant-writing, pep-talking, selling merch, feeding cats ect. Since I am at the beginning of my career I need to work infinitely harder than established managers because I am my own publicist, tour manger, and booking agent. Eventually, the goal is to outsource these tasks and put together full teams for my artists.
As for PR — it is really just pushing your artist’s content to as many media folks as you can. Key to this role is shameless persistence.
PT: What was your initial experience dealing with others (venue & artist managers, show promoters etc) in the scene? Breaking into a scene can be intimidating, especially when you’re the only femme manager the room.
HT: I feel really lucky to be in a climate like Montreal which has been very welcoming and supportive of Hot Tramp. Being on tour last month definitely toughened me up and opened my eyes up to some less than welcoming environments. Many times venue managers on tour would go out of their way to make me feel uncomfortable; one even refused to come out of his office to speak with me. In these moments, I was made to feel as though I was overstepping my boundaries when, in reality, I was just doing my job. AGH it was frustrating.
In comparison, Montreal is definitely great, although, I do at times feel like there is a kind of cool dude brigade here that can be intimidating. BUT I say that lightly because the cool dudes have been greatly supportive of Hot Tramp so far and are HUGELY supportive of the Montreal music community as a whole so I see this feeling of intimidation more as a byproduct of the all-too-common imposter syndrome faced by women in male-dominated fields, rather than as anything intentionally placed on me. As Hot Tramp continues on an upward trajectory, it’ll help me affirm my spot to myself, which will allow me to get past these feelings of intimidation. In the end, I think my biggest battle will be making sure that I feel as though I deserve a spot at the table even as a generally uncool, un-dude-y, Hot Tramp.
PT: You recently went on a North American tour with Janette King and Maryze. What was that experience like? What would your advice be for an artist before going on their first ever tour?
HT: I could not have chosen better people to take this adventure with than Maryse, Janette, and Ciele. We are all so supportive of one another and truly felt unstoppable as a gang. I remember before going, I was pretty nervous because as much as my job requires me to be very social I actually am most comfortable alone, and really do require quite a bit of space to re-charge BUT our dynamic together ended up being so great… I felt at ease throughout and even felt a bit gutted when we parted ways. This definitely came as a surprise to me and I guess allowed me to understand myself a bit more and grow from this experience. As for advice — DON’T BOOK A FIVE WEEK TOUR. It is simply too long for a first tour.
PT: Now that we know more about Hot Tramp MGMT, tell us about Hot Tramp Festival
HT: Hot Tramp Fest is a five day festival that will be held at The Diving Bell Social Club with the exception of one show which will be hosted by our friends Citizen Vintage. Everything will be kicked off by an opening party on Wednesday, August 28th for pass holders and industry folks where you will have FREE BEER (thanks Grolsch). The fab Hua Li will be DJing this opening event AND you will have a performance by Hot Tramp Janette King. The rest of the fest will be filled with amazing performers – you can check out full line-up on the Hot Tramp Instagram.
PT: Why did you decide to start your own all-femme music festival? What has that process been like?
HT: The idea for Hot Tramp Fest actually came from chatting with Josh Spencer of Kickdrum. Earlier this year, pre-Hot Tramp, I was throwing around the idea of planning a Kickdrum Fest like the one he had planned in 2016. Then by the time Hot Tramp came to be in March, I still had not started planning this KickDrum Festival so thought why not just do a Hot Tramp one instead. Josh is someone I really look up to in the Montreal music world since like me, he always seems to have 102830 projects on the go. His ability to pull off a DIY fest on his own gave me a nice incentive to take a stab at it myself so THANKS JOSH.
From the initial idea, the festival just kind of snowballed. I actually booked most of it while I was on tour from the backseat of Janette’s car where we were almost always driving through a desert and almost never had cell connectivity. It was interesting, but a (small) part of me does miss my car office with Janette.
PT: What makes Hot Tramp Festival different from Lilith Fair?
HT: A big difference (looking past general scale and resources aha) is that Lilith fair was purposed around raising money for charities that supported women. I played with this idea for my festival, and was specifically interested in partnering with an organization involved with combating this disgusting attack on women’s abortion rights. Unfortunately, financing this fest has been my biggest challenge, making this idea hard to implement. I’m thinking this first Hot Tramp fest will be a “lucky if I break-even” kind of deal but for HT fest #2 I’d love to incorporate a charitable tie-in, as by that point I assume that I will be more seasoned in the art of festival financing.
PT: How did you build your lineup? What kind of artists did you want to showcase?
HT: Line-up wise I knew first and foremost that I wanted the Hot Tramps that I work with involved. From there I just started reaching out to friends and artists that I follow. Since announcing the festival, I have also received a lot of submissions both locally and from around Canada which is really exciting. The reception of my festival definitely confirmed that this is something that I’ll do next year (only NOT accidentally on a long weekend). Honestly, I can’t even describe how honoured I feel to have the line-up that I do. It’s a bit surreal. These artists are SO TALENTED and to be able to have them team up with Hot Tramp is just the best feeling.
PT: What can we expect from the festival?
HT: You can expect a fab time with fab shows and fab people. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE.
PT: Lastly, where can we buy tickets?
HT: You can buy passes here — www.eventbrite.com/e/hot-tramp-festival-tickets-62973575660