First published in SPRING 2016 “TOP 10 HAITIAN Business Leaders in South Florida” edition
18 Years Later, Compas Festival Is Still Going Strong
By Sarah Brutus
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Haiti.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of starting your business?
A: There have been a lot of difficult aspects. You consistently have to be thinking and changing things up. You have to be different from everyone else. If not, you will not make it in this business. It’s hard work. This is not an easy industry to work in.
Q: What do you think sets you apart as a promoter?
A: I understood very early that promotion is very important. Over the years, thorough promoting parties and Compas Fest, I have always believed in heavy promotion. I know it has made the difference and made sure we brought out the crowd.
“I understood very early that promotion is very important.“
Q: What made you decide to start an event like Compas Fest?
A: My partner and I wanted to bring change to the Haitian music industry. There was nothing big happening in the industry, especially in Miami. We thought it would be a great idea to start an event that would celebrate our music. Then we also wanted to celebrate our flag, and Compas Fest has been able to do both.
Q: Did you ever think Compas Fest would become such a major event?
A: Whenever I put my mind to something, it has to get done. Once we came up with the concept, there was no turning back. I knew that eventually the community would see the vision and how important Compas Fest is to our culture.
Q: Where do you see Compas Fest in the next 10 years?
A: Compas Fest will continue to exist and grow. Every year we try to come up with ways and options to make the show better. Me and my staff work all year to ensure that we put on a bigger and better show every year. Our community and culture needs the recognition and exposure that Compas Fest brings to the world.
“Our community and culture needs the recognition and exposure that Compas Fest brings to the world.”
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
A: This is a tough business to be in. You have to be patient and understand the process. You have to be able to think out of the box and bring new ideas to the business. You have to know what kind of crowd you’re trying to attract, and you have to stay on top of your promotion and make sure that you work smart. Not every single event is going to be successful, but don’t let that discourage you.
Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
A: I wish someone would have told me about all the stress and pressure that comes with promoting parties and starting a festival. But even if they’d told me, I would have still done it. I love what I do and I believe I make a positive contribution to the community and the music industry.