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An Interview with a prolific stage manager: Chris Otter

Chris Otter is a multifaceted Stage Manager, Business Owner, and Music Industry Icon based out of Kansas City, MI.

Hey Chris, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about your story today. To kick things off, can you briefly walk us through what originally inspired your passion for music, and working within it?

"I was always interested in music. At a young age my parents took me to a lot of concerts. As soon as I was old enough I joined band class, and tried to play the trombone from Middle into High School. 8/9th grade or so my cousin got turntables. He was always playing a ton of instruments, and really inspired me to get hands on. A few years later he got a single pioneer cdj100s, and used it and its effects alongside a turntable relentlessly. I want to say in 10th grade he started using Reason to produce music with a mpc 2000 turntables / keys, drums you name it. Later I was working in a body shop while hosting house parties weekly in a few cities balanced between going to underground ish shows and helping a local production company. I would just move sound in and out before/ after every show, help do deco, shoot photos during the events you name it. This took place throughout the duration of a few years."

"I was hooked even though I never really made any money. Eventually, a friend asked me to help host a party which is a story of its own but I went to sleep that night and woke up to a brand and company page that I was a moderator on the next morning. At that point I just sort of felt like it was on and started really trying to make this entire thing I had stumbled onto a reality. "

In a festival setting, Otter is typically seen doing 5+ things at once, zooming by on a cart while talking into a radio, planning stage afterparties, and generally holding down fort (sometimes with a broken leg) to curate an unforgettable experience for attendees and those on the backline.

It's great to hear where your roots are founded, and the impact it has had on the direction of your career. What projects are you working on right now?

"I am the founder of Hy-Tekk Productions and an events director with Mammoth Live. We host Hy-Tekk shows in a 3 state region. Additionally, help curate the street team for Hy-Tekk’s regional events and any festivals we may work alongside. "

Otter has since become an industry staple for a variety of large festivals, like Summercamp, Infrasound, Gem & Jam, Kosmic Kingdom, Wakaan, and more.

"This has taken my career over the years to become a festival production, stage and site manager at several nationally known events. A few of my partners started Level Management where I sometimes help with artist relations. Lastly, Dan Green and myself co-own Elevated Lyfe, the hydration backpack brand."

It’s evident that you’re partaking in many facets of the creative industry! Do any focal points in this field entice you more than others?

"If I had to pick it’s being a stage manager but honestly I love it all. "

"Some days and gigs are more fun than others for sure. However, just being in this field is a blessing. "

We’ve all faced challenges while becoming the people we are today. The limits that we push ourselves beyond can seem almost unachievable at points. Looking back, is there any advice you’d give to a younger version of yourself? Is there any advice you’d like to give to aspiring people looking to work within the industry?

"Keep working towards what you love. Take the time to learn about its inner workings and politics. Keep your cool while strategically placing yourself every step along the way. Make friends, build a support system, and keep your head up. Remember rebranding isn’t always bad. Things take time and aren’t always done right, that is okay. Be open, listen and learn from others whom you look up to. Have fun. "


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