Promoter Hamish Pinkham on Phoenix Summit and tips every entrepreneur should know

Promoter Hamish Pinkham on Phoenix Summit and tips every entrepreneur should know

This is the part of a Newshub Q&A series with influential Kiwis who are making their mark on the world.

After coming up with the idea for Rhythm and Vines while on a surfing holiday as a 21-year-old, Hamish Pinkham grew the festival from humble beginnings into a world-class New Year's celebration.

Two decades later, Rhythm and Vines will hold its 17th countdown at Waiohika Estate on December 31, hosting 20,000 people and 80 artists over three days.

Now he's starting again, with an exciting new opportunity. On September 14, the forward-thinking promoter's next venture will kick off - a one-day forum featuring some of the brightest minds working in music, film, and innovation.

Pinkham is ready to share the lessons he's learned along his business and creative journey, and the Phoenix Summit invites anyone keen with an idea or a flair for creativity to attend an interactive space with industry leaders.

What sparked your creative journey?


I think I was probably put off by what I did not want to do. I went to university and studied as a lawyer and I found that quite restrictive from a creative point of view. It's very regimented, very structured, there's lots of rules and regulations and the correct way of doing things.

The creativity of the festival is something I've been really drawn to - choosing bands, coming up with a look and feel for the festival, promoting the bands online and on-site, all while following trends in the music sphere.

It's exciting now to be able to facilitate something that will hopefully spark the same passion I had when I started in this business.

How do you turn an idea into reality?


I'm all about having a vision and then just trying to achieve it. It's similar to when we started Rhythm and Vines, we had an idea and we just got on and made it happen. We surrounded ourselves with a lot of good people, we worked hard, had a lot of tenacity, never gave up, took a lot of risks and chipped away at it.

Surround yourself around experts, that's what the summit is trying to do. If we can hear some of these leading stories of people who have been there, done that - if we can help share and discuss some of these current topics, we can help inspire the next generation.

What's helped you starting out?


Don't be scared to have big goals and aspirations at a world-class level.

I think that's what we've intended to do with Rhythm and Vines, we've wanted it to be a quality event here in NZ. Rather than cut corners and cut costs we thought "why can't we run world-class events here?"

It's about having those aspirational goals brought down to a level that they can be obtainable. That's what we hope to achieve and promote: some new conversations - there are some really important ones going on that are worth bringing to the table.

Speakers include Ty Stiklorius (John Legend's manager), Rob English (creative director Lady Gaga), Allison Shaw (CEO and founder of Manic Monkee) and Mark Roach (project manager Recorded Music NZ).
Speakers include Ty Stiklorius (John Legend's manager), Rob English (creative director Lady Gaga), Allison Shaw (CEO and founder of Manic Monkee) and Mark Roach (project manager Recorded Music NZ). Photo credit: Supplied / Phoenix Summit.

What inspired the Phoenix Summit?


I've had the Phoenix idea for a while and I've just been waiting for the timing to be right. I got the opportunity to book some of these speakers in New Zealand and our festival is in the right place.

Something like the Phoenix Summit didn't really exist when I was coming up through the industry and it really excites me to be able to offer it to people coming up in the creative business now.

I think we need access to leading ideas and conversations. We need to promote difficult conversations and address topical issues. We need to hear from industry experts and learn from their journeys. We need the confidence to go into new ventures and industries. The Phoenix Summit intends to facilitate this.

I think the time is right to play on it. With my contacts and experience, it's a nice time to think about giving back to the industry and creating a forum to help inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs and creatives coming through.

Who and what can people expect on the day?


We're just keeping it simple. It's quite fluid, it's quite broad and it's a chance to get some like-minds in a room, start some conversations and see what happens.

We'll have a local focus in the morning, talking a bit about some trends here, the commercialisation of music and art, intellectual property, and addressing some local issues in the industry.

Then the headline speakers jump up after lunch. These include Rob English, who's Lady Gaga's creative director. He's worked on Super Bowl-level adverts, he's worked with leading brands across a number of genres, and will be speaking about his experience in bringing creative ideas to the commercial world.

We're looking to have a US focus with the likes of Allison Shaw and Ty Stiklorius, who are involved with managing bands. There will be some international trends there, from women in music to touring to how to make money in the industry and help inspire and provide a platform for local talent looking to head offshore.

We've got a leading Kiwi creative who used to run MTV, Brent Hansen. He's going to be doing a keynote address about his career and his experience in the international industry.

At the end of the day, there will be a bit of a question and answer, an open panel discussion about any number of issues that the floor wants to open up.

What's your advice for others looking to go into business?


Surround yourself with like-minded, positive, ambitious people. There are lots of naysayers out there and lots of negativity. Sometimes it's people that are close to you and in your inner circle.  It's all about finding the right people that can help inspire you and give you positive, constructive feedback.

The mentorship thing is a big thing. When we were young we had a couple of key mentors helping us get off the ground. It gave us the confidence to pursue our ideas and provide a pathway for our development.

Get networking - you never know who you might meet, what ideas you might come across, one contact will lead to something else. Just hustle, get out there and grind away and make it happen.

It's important while you're young to work hard, get up and show up to opportunities. If you keep chipping away, the magic starts to happen.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: