2018 Replay

It is clear from our name – Majestic Collaborations –  that we have always valued collaborations. Initiating, executing, and following up on collaborations is at the heart and soul of Majestic Collaborations, Inc. We are mindful of the quality of each relationship and project we dive into, and highly cherish our ability to work across multiple fields and arenas. When looking back at 2018, we can’t really say it was “The Year of the Collaboration.” Because collaboration is our baseline behavior. For Matthew, Molly, and Ali, 2018 was the year of Conversion and Transformation.


  1. We took our efforts to the next level right away with the implementation and release of the Denver Music StrategyWe initiated a three-year contract with Denver Arts and Venues during the inaugural year of the Denver Music Advancement Fund. 




  1. Emergency Preparedness – We worked together with Denver Arts and Venues, Performing Arts Readiness and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch the Arts & Cultural network for Emergency Preparedness



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  1. Tactical Urbanism – Using tactical urbanism as a strategic tool, Molly North and transportation engineering collaborators encouraged neighborhood drivers to “Slow the Funk Down!” as a tribute to funk luminary Bootsy Collins.




  1. Kowal attended 2018’s Event Safety Alliance Summit “Designing for Safety: Planning, Creativity, and the Art of Problem Solving,” which explored intentional design and safety/operational plans, training, event structures, and careers.
    • Kowal spent several days networking, workshopping, and participating in positive collaborations with key players concerning everything that could possibly go wrong with crowds and events.
    • Good design fortifies communities, large and small. Emergency Preparedness can be a way to engage with crowds at festivals and other large events.
    • Hands-on skill sharing events can be helpful in training people to be prepared in all types of emergency situations.
    • Many of our goals for 2019 center around the actualization of a viral Event Safety movement that boosts awareness about event safety.
    • Stay tuned!


  • In a video filmed for A2RU, Kowal discussed immersive experiences, Majestic Collaborations, emergency preparedness, and the importance of recognizing the history of land and its people. This is a great summary of what we feel is important here at Majestic Collaborations, Inc.


6. Music Cities Convention

  • Majestic Collaborations and Kowal were pleased to support Sound Diplomacy’s Lafayette Music Cities Convention.
  • Our participation helped to tend the application for a 2020 Music Cities conference in Denver.
  • On the very same note, NoCo’s very own community music association, The Music District, hosted Surround Sound Bash, an event that also sparks awareness and advocacy for local music economies.


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7. Civic Center Conservancy Event Greening and Power Upgrades

  • In September, Kowal used his knowledge of music festival temporary electricity to aid in running 90% of Civic Center Eats’ (CCE) food trucks on grid power instead of gasoline powered generators.
  • This feat was the result of the combined efforts of four different teams & some seriously practical skill sharing.



8. McNichols Civic Center Building



9. The Reals and Matthew Ché Kowal are grateful to have been able to share their music for another year, performing for several great community events and local philanthropic causes and organizations:




More information on all these collaborations – scroll below!

Event Safety Alliance Summit 2018


Event Safety Alliance Summit 2018

Matthew Ché Kowal was honored to be sponsored by Performing Arts Readiness and The Mellon Foundation to attend the Event Safety Alliance Summit Nov 28 – Nov 30, 2018 in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

This year’s event, “Designing for Safety: Planning, Creativity, and the Art of Problem Solving,” explored intentional design and safety/operational plans, training, event structures, and careers. This year’s summit was a comprehensive and inclusive survey of all aspects of event emergency preparedness, comprised of over 20 presentations by the very best folks in the industry.


Majestic Collaborations, Inc. and Kowal would like to thank PAR, The Mellon Foundation, Denver Arts and Venues, and Create Denver for affording us the opportunity to attend this important event.

At the summit, Kowal spent several days networking, workshopping, and participating in positive collaborations with key players concerning everything that could possibly go wrong with crowds and events. While he wasn’t able to experience every single presentation, since some took place simultaneously, he was able to attend many important workshops, forums, and activities concerning the importance of preparation for the worst and making secure and sound emergency decisions for each and every community.

The first session set an excellent context for the the Event Safety Alliance Summit. Dominic Housiaux presented “Designing for Safety,” which would have been a great topic for a 99% Invisible Podcast! We love this podcast because they dive deeply into design concepts, providing robust knowledge about diverse design of all kinds. Their website also supplies visuals and resources to deepen learning about each topic. We would recommend starting with Fire and Rain, as well as A Year in the Dark.

“Simulation as a Tool for Improving Outcomes” was introduced by Emma Parkinson, course director of Emergency Planning and Crowded Places at Coventry University in Bath, UK. She presented scenarios, as bomb threats or snowstorms, highlighting her concept of finding creative ways to manufacture “injects,” or creative twists that allow event producers and staff to envision scenarios outside the natural realm of thought. We learned that creating “injects” to solve complex scenarios can result in enhanced mental plasticity! Very cool. Parkinons’s presentation reminded us of the experience of one of our collaborators at Majestic Collaborations who was in attendance at the Boston Marathon in 2013, when there were a series of bombs at the finish line. She fortunately was not at the finish line, but a friend of hers was. She had run the race three months pregnant, and was in the medic tent when the first bomb went off. The bombing could have been one of the “far-fetched” scenarios we postulated at the Summit, but the Boston Marathon bombing wasn’t just theoretical. It was real and effected real people. This is a real-life reminder that scenarios are incredibly important when planning for event safety.


“Advanced Safety Management: Exceptional Circumstances” presented by Virginia Schmitt and Ed Klima gave each team simulated evacuations, taking many factors into account, such as injuries, people with disabilities, exceptional mobility, unique extenuating circumstances, performers on stage, and more. We divided into teams comprised of roles: Team Leader, 911 Celler, and Evacuation Assists, with the goal of protecting lives. We had to identify risks, possible emergencies associated, and create a process for evacuation using Rock Lititz Safety and Evacuation Plans. Each table became a team assigned to 4 hour segments of the remaining conference to be the reliance team and take responsibility for the evacuation, which had twists and challenges of evacuees that needed assists, The team that covered the drill gave a debrief on stage to discuss the learnings. A good rule of thumb is to build skills before you drill. In this case, we were given several announcements starting from the first minutes of the conference about the evacuation plans and building features – exits, etc.

Eric Stuart’s “Crowd Management: What’s Throng with this Situation?” covered crowd safety and human psychology. Stuart is a recognized leader in crowd management theory and practice; his message contradicts the popular conception that the natural response of crowds in the face of disaster is to panic. Stuart believes that all it takes is simple messaging before an event takes place so that everyone in attendance can have a safe experience: “Messaging is absolutely crucial but it’s got to be tailored. It’s got to be focused to the people we’re trying to address.” Mass panic is a reality that we have to anticipate at any public gathering. Awareness and knowledge of best practices in emergency preparedness is a must! Oftentimes, controlling a crowd after a chaotic event can be like “putting toothpaste back in the tube.”


“Exhausted, Under Pressure, and Out of Time” and Dr. Reil and Dominic Housiaux covered the effect of stress on health and decision making, bringing up the cumulative effects of stress on the body, or allostatic load. Stress can wreak havoc on the body. Self awareness is imperative when managing stress on any level. Some basic questions to ask ourselves daily are:  Am I exercising for more than 45 minutes a day? Am I drinking enough water and getting enough natural sunlight? How am I managing my stressors on the job? Am I getting more than 6 hours of sleep every night? Sleep is so important for a healthy body and mind, as emphasized by Dr. Marlene Reil: “We dream for a reason, not just to set goals and fantasize about the future, but to process information. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not processing.”


Steven Adelman’s take home message in “Your Day in Court: The Challenge of Personal Responsibility,” aka “Fun Times in Judge Robes,” was that understanding your “duty care” is critical. It’s difficult to know the extent to which payouts for damages have been awarded; it seems like court settlements are always reached without disclosing the amount. Adelman directed us through an exercise that explored a court case involving a sledding hill, and the flip/flopping a jury would go through in assigning blame.


Resilient Teams” by Dr. Marlene Reil and Dominic Housiaux of Lankey & LImey Ltd demonstrated how resilient teams can still be built even under stress. Dr. Reil and Housiaux took us back to the previous presentation concerning allostatic load, giving us the take home message of understanding uncertainty is important to manage the stress of teams. When exposed to stressors for an extended amount of time, people experience an 83% greater risk of physical and psychological effects, including cardiac arrest, depression, and burn out, as well as a reduction in both cognition and productivity.

“Who’s in Charge Here?” Tami Richter, Jen Stiles, Donald Cooper, and Chris Jones presented on the art of explaining safety concerns. Fire marshals and other public safety officials serving as the Authority Having Jurisdiction at events have to explain their safety-concerns to the well-meaning creative misfits who essentially ran away to join the circus. Not an easy task! Show people, in turn, wonder why Authority Having Jurisdictions always seem to say “No” to their most fun ideas. In this session, we peeked over the fence to see how the other half lives and to see things from a different point of view.

“Alas, the best weather app still does not  someone a meteorologist make.” (from Event Safety Alliance’s Facebook). Dr. Kevin Kloesel’s “Sunny with a Chance of Lightning” concerned weather safety, and explained the differences between professional meteorology and the fancy graphics and pretty colors of mobile phone apps. Big takeaway here is the benefit of employing a on-call meteorologist for your outdoor event and venues. Whether as a subscription or a one-off, it probably costs less than you think.

Tim Roberts’s “Annoying Acronyms: Event Safety Management Plans” was all about event safety management. The crux of this course was understanding the all the AHJs in your event’s sphere. We employed a table exercise that had us planning for a community event in an unnamed town square which included a city and county building. Many of us have planned such events and the exercise became a familiar memory game where we came up with the long list of government offices involved in setting up community events. It was everything from liquor to parade permits. Agencies such as Homeland Security and even the FAA (thinking of using a drone?) would be on the list for most festivals. It can be complicated to employ harm-reduction strategies, such as testing for recreational drugs, to large festivals when you consider state and federal jurisdictions. The take home message here would be summed up by the old saying: Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

“Tami Richter and Jen Stiles’s Mud Baths and Mosh Pits:” Festival/Outdoor Safety Group covered the reality and safety concerns concerning “mud baths” and “mosh pits.” We Majestic Collaborators have experienced these more than once while Kowal curated and directed Tour de Fat. There were many presenting professionals and event production personnel in attendance, and they were able to share a wide spectrum of experiences candidly. While some organizations had tried to actively shut down moshing, others remarked the history of the dancing included claiming that Rock & Roll dancers would dislocate hips and should be banned. One festival producer commented that knowing that there was enough room for a mosh pit was an indicator that the crowd was not too dense. Others shared practices of making it easy for patrons to “over-the-wall” of Mojo Barrier if they needed a break from the dance pits. Resoundingly we heard how closed-circuit cameras and staff training for security are essential elements of managing the expanding high-contact dancing, especially at EDM events.

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In Friday’s “Do No Harm” presentation by Stephanie Jones and Dr. Brezinski, we learned about the importance of harm reduction at festivals. Musicians, producers, support staff – everyone involved becomes family while on tour. It’s a team effort to promote wellness, including diet, physical wellness and mental wellness, and sleep. After tours are over, it’s common to experience “post tour grief,” and we learned the importance of acknowledging and possibly seeking help for this. We broke into groups and discussed five strategies to help touring bands, event production companies, venues, and festivals, and we narrowed down key stressors such as alcohol, decompression after tour, depression, PTSD. We were shocked to learn that people involved in event production statistically have their first heart attack at 41 years old, which is only a few years away for us Majestic Collaborators! Dr. Brezinski, also a musician, was terrified when he himself had an early heart condition; as a result, he started an organization to promote self-awareness in the rock-and-roll world. Dr. Brezinski also discussed providing defibrillators to people on tour, and he told us about the benefits of the Stress Scan app to monitor pulse on the go. Added bonus: Kowal also had the honor of taking a CPR, AED, and first aid class from Dr. Brezinski.  


Engineering Trust by James Kern and Itzel Molina was one of our favorite keynotes. This power-couple covered a lot of ground with their shared knowledge. Molina is brilliant, bilingual, and a “Safety Culture Transformation Leader,” and Kern is the producer of corporate branding events for some of the most recognized brands at XISM. Our table exercise involved devising an “Attendee Safety Journey” that asked us to contemplate the messaging that patrons received before and during and after the event. Super smart! Especially informative was the optic on how to avoid the often-ignored airline safety announcement scenario. Kowal thought – “This is what I came for!” He and his partner devised a festival in Monterey, MX, built on a message climate/carbon reduction concept. We added a family-friendly message to the pre-sale communications, actionable commitments, and wearable ephemera (a black bracelet that symbolizes commitment to carbon reduction) that would take the message out into the world. We are still jazzed by the take-aways from this presentation.


Event Safety as an industry has come such a long way, and continues to strengthen and grow as it becomes more and more important to rally around event safety and how it can help us build systems for resilience. Good design fortifies communities, large and small. The importance of planning for the worst even while celebrating the best of event cannot be emphasized enough.

Lastly, a very special thanks to Richard Cadena, author of several books on portable and entertainment electrics. His 14 hour class and certificate program was chock full and well done!


Check out the Event Safety Summit’s full schedule here!



Howdy A2RU!!

Howdy A2RU, from Matthew Ché Kowal!


In this video filmed for A2RU, Kowal discusses immersive experiences, Majestic Collaborations, emergency preparedness, and the importance of recognizing the history of land and its people.

Scroll down for a synopsis of the video!



Immersive Experiences

One of Kowal’s first immersive experiences was his combined twelve years of involvement in New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat, a festival comprised of “costumed artful parties in the park, with a potluck-vibe. TDF was truly an immersive, cooperative experience centered around bicycle advocacy. There was a car-to-bike trade at every event, a 1000 person dance contest to win a bike, and a “slow ride” emphasizing the bike’s inherent ability to make people slow down and appreciate life.

Majestic Collaborations

Majestic Collaborations was established in 2016 by Kowal and his wife, Molly. Majestic connects bands, brands, and agencies to their communities through community involved events, initiatives, and policy work. Some of our recent clients are the City of Denver Music Strategy, FACTOR Canada, and Sound Diplomacy. Currently, we are serving a Mellon Foundation grant to do Emergency Preparedness for performing arts organizations.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness can be a way to engage with crowds at festivals and other large events. Hands-on skill sharing events can be helpful in training people to be prepared in all types of emergency situations. This idea came to Kowal while he was at Standing Rock where he noticed a great similarity between emergency planning for large demonstrations and emergency planning for festivals.

Indigenous Recognition

Majestic Collaborations believes in the importance of recognizing the history of a land and its people. In Canada, event producers begin each public event with a call to recognize indigenous history. We hope this idea spreads! And, we’re looking at ways to help ground people and remind them that where they are standing now belongs also to the people of the past.




September 25-27, 2018

CIVIC CENTER EATS Green Week (guest post by Antonina Clarke) 

Last week through the combined efforts of four different teams & some seriously practical skill sharing, we were able to run 90% of Civic Center Eats’ (CCE) food trucks on grid power instead of the fleet of gasoline powered generators traditionally relied on. Matthew Ché Kowal, founder of Majestic Collaborations, used his knowledge of music festival temporary electricity to suggest to Eric Lazzari, director of operations for Civic Center Eats, that the food trucks be powered from existing grid infrastructure from the city instead of individual gasoline mechanisms.


Eric and Matt then collaborated with Pamela Maragh of Siteline Events to teach six of her eager workers in a new practical skill: temporary electricity. Utilized for more than just food trucks and concert lights, temporary power is how cities get back on their feet in emergencies; an important part of Matthew’s intention is to teach his practical knowledge of how to draw and distribute power safely. In order to pull this off, the team at Siteline Events learned a whole new language of power jargon with terms like spider boxes, California twist locks, feeder cables, turtles and L14-30’s in order to operate the equipment, which was provided by Sunbelt Rentals.


The food truck operators then enthusiastically participated in this important pilot program as it not only meant a day of not running their fumy loud mechanical portable power sources, but because the information offered to them on their wiring set-ups enables them to connect at more breweries and outdoor festivals safely in the future. All parties were excited that the patrons would be able to smell food (not gasoline) and hear the live music (not generators). The vendors were also asked to bring all compostable wares and most were happy to comply – we achieved very good diversion from landfill thanks to staffing and waste stations from Cut the Plastic. 


A few rigs were discovered to have faulty electrical hookups their operators were unaware of. This is where convenience appears again and again as an obstacle in our long term evolution toward more efficient systems. If the electricians hired to wire the food trucks initially hadn’t taken shortcuts, some costly and safety-compromising mistakes could have been avoided. Currently gasoline is so cheap, and generators are accessible to many, and convenient in the short term, but in terms of energy efficiency, we CAN do better.


The success of supplying grid power to 49 uniquely wired food trucks is a testament to collaboration, skill sharing, and changing toward better methods. The fact that the lines the city has laid are able to tap into renewable energy sources, reduce air pollution in the immediate area, and create safer electrical systems for all, make green-lighting this program for next year a serious consideration.

Antonina Clarke is an artist-carpenter, welder, trades-lady who had the opportunity to assist Matthew and Pamela and learn heaps in the process, as per Majestic Collaborations’ ethos of empowering creatives and their communities through skill sharing and cross pollination.

Performing Arts Readiness has employed  Majestic Collaborations though funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop emergency preparedness in Colorado’s creative and Performing Arts community. This position, also know as “Circuit Rider”, is hosted by Denver Arts & Venues 

Below you’ll find a few impromptu phone-captured videos documenting a few atmospheric, technical, and collaborative details of our work with CIVIC CENTER EATS Green Week !!