May 18, 2024 | David Smulyan

It Takes a Team to Put on the Summer Soulstice Musical Festival

June 15th is only 4 weeks away… It’s hard to believe. My team and I have been preparing for this event since February. Putting on an event like this takes an unbelievable amount of time and energy. I’m fortunate to have a team of people helping me out.

Greetings for the Executive Director

This blog is dedicated to my Summer Soulstice team

Jason Burczyk, talent coordinator at the Cooperage, curated the line up of musicians. Rachel Taylor, former Brady Street BID Executive Director, has been my right-hand person, helping me in so many ways. As someone who has run a big street festival herself, she has an enormous amount of experience and talent. Besides managing all the vendor selections, she has helped me with developing T-shirts and Koozie merchandise for sale. I am so excited for all the festival attendees to see the shirts we have for sale.

Wes Blankenheim takes care of securing the band stages, the sound engineers, the lighting, the power, etc. And on the day of the event, he is there from 7 am to 2 am overseeing everything and making sure things go smoothly. He is a true professional.

I’m so fortunate to have Allie Horner take care of all things marketing – social media, web, designing billboards, festival signs, media advertising, etc.  They don’t come any better or more reliable than Allie!

My crackerjack team includes two of my BID board members – Scott Blum and Mike Vitucci. Their counsel and advice are priceless. I don’t have enough space to tell everyone all that Scott has helped me with the last 3 Summer Soulstice Festivals.  Pretty much all the creative -- branding, signage, etc. has come from Scott. And on the day of the event, Scott and his business partner Chris Bach, are there at 7 am helping to put up all the signage and lend a hand with whatever needs to be done. I’ll never forget the first year I oversaw the festival, we had to move around a lot of cases of beer, etc. to our various street bars and Scott took the lead on this, using just a hand truck. 

Mike Vitucci. What can I say. Mike has been in the food and beverage business since he was a kid.  He worked in the family business – the iconic Vitucci’s cocktail lounge on North Avenue. But since then, he has done so much more. He owns and manages several establishments in Milwaukee, with Izzy Hops on Murray and Uncle Bucks in the Deer district being just a couple of his ventures. I am so lucky to have him as an advisor.  I would be lost with Mike’s assistance and knowledge.

I’m so excited for this year’s event because we are bringing the festival back to Murray Avenue. Prior to Covid, the festival was on North Avenue and there was a musical stage on Murray. This year Murray is going to have a lot going on. There will be a small stage with a line-up of soloists, along with Trivia, Bingo, the Adventure Rock Climbing Wall, a bunch of vendors and a wine bar.

Last, but by no means least, I have always had a core team of dedicated and energetic volunteers. They make a huge impact.  They help set up the bars, tables, etc. in the early morning and assist with putting up the signage. During the day and into the evening they assist with whatever needs to be done.  And at the end of the night, they help with shutting things down.

If you want to see all the great musical talent and the amazing array of vendors, please visit the Summer Soulstice Official Website.
Hi, I'm David Smulyan, Executive Director of the East Side BID #20.
Welcome to my blog. Follow me on my journey with the East Side Business Improvement District.
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June 03, 2024 | David Smulyan

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May 11, 2024 | David Smulyan

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April 16, 2024 | David Smulyan

I can’t wait to unveil our new East Side BID website

The website we are currently using was created by Rockstar over ten years ago. When it was created, it was a leading-edge site, but as we all know, technology gets old pretty fast. It was clearly time for an upgrade. I’m so fortunate to work with Rockstar. The websites that they create are amazing!

David Smulyan - Executive Director of the East Side Business Improvement District #20