The State of the State of North Carolina’s Mass Gatherings


Jasmine Beard

Chief Strategy Consultant of AJOY Consulting

Jasmine Beard, owner and chief strategy consultant of AJOY Consulting, LLC, partners with brands to optimize their business while also developing and exceeding attainable results. A multilingual enthusiast and published author, Jasmine believes that “an individual’s growth means nothing if planted seeds are not sown for others along the way.”

Dynamic, proactive, optimistic and enthusiastic. Well-connected and well-respected by peers. Strong communicator and active listener. Adaptive, resourceful problem solver and goal-getter. Focused on getting the job done accurately, with measurable results, a positive attitude and always with the bigger picture in mind. Afterall, the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time!

Excelling in business development and process implementation, she increased Mexico & Southwest U.S. regional sales for Fortune 500 Volvo Group North America over 33%, and decreased processing and implementation time for quotation management by 49%. Measurable results are deeply rooted in Jasmine’s core principles, and she works to sprinkle that philosophy into her professional and personal involvement with her clients and in her Greensboro, N.C. community where she is actively involved and always seeking to lift someone else along the way. Current involvement includes Professional Development VP for Greensboro Jaycees, TedX Greensboro Co-Organizer, ReStore Committee Chair for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro, Executive Committee Member for Weatherspoon Art Museum, and Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine Board Vice Chair, and Campaign Manager for Hugh Holston’s successful bid for Greensboro City Councilman at-large.

Dan Brawley

Chief Instigating Officer of Surfalorus and Cucalorus Film Festivals

Dan Brawley is the Chief Instigating Officer of the Cucalorus Film Festival, an international celebration of filmmaking, performance and justice taking place in multiple venues in downtown Wilmington every year in November. The festival was named one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” in 2021.

David Brower

Executive Director at PineCone, The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music

David grew up in the Piedmont with a deep love for traditional music of the region. He was drawn to the authentic voices of old-time, bluegrass and folk music played by everyday people. A desire to share that music led him to a career in public radio where he worked as a host, music director, NPR contributor and most recently as program director for North Carolina Public Radio WUNC. He was named Executive Director of PineCone in October of 2019 and is a member of IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2020. He loves fiddle tunes, good coffee, college basketball and his family which is remarkably tolerant of banjo jokes.

Steph Coolbaugh

Community Engagement Coordinator at Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc.

Steph Coolbaugh is an arts administrator, musician, and event producer based in Greensboro, NC. They are an advocate for safe, accessible, sustainable, and community engaged events through their work locally and as a coordinator of the Art of Mass Gatherings nationally touring program. Dedicated to intentional and inclusive event production practices, Steph is a strong believer that when arts and culture workers invest in the needs of artists and community members, they will invest back into you.

Mack Coyle

CEO of Coyle Solar

Growing up in Berkeley California in the 1970’s, Mack was raised as an iconoclast. His parents instilled in him the belief that we must each take ownership of this world, and fight for it. He has been a lifelong political and social activist advancing human rights through organizing in the environmental and labor political movements, as well as advocating and advancing ecology with legal and regulatory protections.  A lifelong student, he continues to explore the intersection of ecology and corporate economy. Mack’s passion and vision for a better future continue to drive our company values and innovation. 

Misha Eli

Founder/Creative Director of Spiral Enterprises

Misha has been a leader in the fields of Arts, Education, and Social Action for decades. In 2009, Misha graduated from East-West College of Natural Medicine, and as a Physician and Minister, formed Spiral Enterprises in an effort to further build bridges across age and cultural gaps. His portfolio includes projects such as Harvey Milk Festival, EARTHDANCE, Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival, Volunteer Community Connections, TED, Florida Creativity Conference, Association of Florida Teaching Artists, FloydFest, LEAF Global Arts, Burning Man, and the Southern Atlantic Hemp & Arts Expo.

Jon Fillman

City of Asheville

Jon serves as the City of Asheville’s community event manager with the Office of Special Events. This office is now a division of the city’s (new) Department of Community & Regional Entertainment Facilities. Other divisions in DCREF include the Western North Carolina Nature Center, Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville, Aston Park Tennis Center, JB Lewis Soccer Complex, Asheville Municipal Golf Course, and McCormick Field – Home to the Asheville Tourists. Prior to discovering Asheville in 2006, I served as director of quality assurance for National Cinema Network in Philadelphia, program manager for SPI Marketing in New York, fulfillment manager for LPI Media in New York, and advertising & conference coordinator for Kelby Media, Tampa.

Steven Hardy-Braz

VP of BikeWalkNC

Current VP of BikeWalkNC, Steven Hardy-Braz is a nationally certified school psychologist, author, interpreter, researcher, and advocate for accessibility and safer roads for all users.  Trained at Gallaudet University in psychology, he has been rated as fluent in American Sign Language and has received numerous awards for his work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.  He has interpreted for dozens of different bands across the country at music festivals like the Tour de Fat by New Belguim Brewering.

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​​Jamie Katz Court

Music & Dance Director & Accessibility Coordinator, North Carolina Arts Council

Jamie Katz Court has worn many hats in the field of arts administration over the course of her career, including communications and marketing, artist relations, program development, outreach and community engagement, accessibility coordinator, and more. During her 14 years with PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, she worked closely with partners at the International Bluegrass Music Association as well as colleagues, volunteers, and stakeholders to produce an annual bluegrass festival, in addition to PineCone’s year-round programming of concerts, youth programs, jams, online workshops, and more. As part of her role, she worked on a variety of accessibility initiatives for both the festival and PineCone’s year-round programs, including a sighted guides program developed for the annual bluegrass festival.

Currently, she serves as the Music and Dance Director & Accessibility Coordinator for the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency that awards grant funding to arts organizations and artists all across North Carolina.

Anna Kline

Musician and Business Development Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association

Anna Kline is a songwriter, musician, and writer, recently named the new Business Development Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association. A self-professed Southern culture junkie, Anna grew up in North Mississippi in the small town of Hernando, located in between Memphis and the Delta.

Byron K. Johnson II

Director of Public Safety & Security at The Complex

Byron K. Johnson II serves as the Director of Public Safety and Security for three of City of Raleigh venues in Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina: Raleigh Convention Center, Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts, and Red Hat Amphitheater (together The Complex). He also manages the public safety and security for city-sponsored street festivals, which have attracted over 200,000 guests to the festival footprint.  

Prior to claiming Raleigh as home in 2021, Byron spent over a decade in the sports and entertainment industry with the both the Houston Toyota Center home of the Houston Rockets and The University of Houston Athletics Department.

Byron is a contributing member of the International Association of Venue (IAVM), National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), and ASIS International.

Sean O’Connell

Founder of Music Allies

Asheville resident Sean O’Connell is a live events & entertainment consultant and the founder of Music Allies, where as a marketer, consultant and entrepreneur, Sean worked closely with superstars like Justin Timberlake, Kevin Bacon, Jack Johnson, Ani DiFranco, Sia and Aimee Mann. Sean and his company played a vital role in the early days of many US festivals including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. From 2013 to 2019, Sean was the Managing Partner of the Hangout Music Festival where he increased annual ticket sales from 28,000 to 45,000, and served as VP of Programming at AEG Presents, where he brought some of music’s biggest stars to the stage including Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Dua Lipa, Green Day, Tame Impala, My Chemical Romance, The Killers, Megan Thee Stallion, Halsey and hundreds of others.

Jennifer Pickering

Founder and Executive Director of LEAF Global Arts

Jennifer Pickering is the founder and Executive Director of LEAF Global Arts, which is a non-profit organization, building community, connecting cultures and enriching lives through the arts – locally and globally – with festivals, community events, and arts education programs.

A devoted traveler, Jennifer always intended to use LEAF as a platform to introduce people to other cultures through the music and arts. At the time she really didn’t realize that music and the arts were the most powerful tool for preserving cultures and for passing them on. Besides two festivals each year, Pickering also oversees LEAF In Schools and Streets and LEAF International, programs that take the artists from the stage into the community.

Priya Ray

Founder of DIYabled

Priya is the founder of the nonprofit DIYabled. Our mission is to educate people about disability and accessibility through the experience of disabled people. We believe in Cripping Community so disabled people can have the same human experiences because at DIYabled we believe Disabled People are People.

​​Catherine Swain

Director of Marketing, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR)

Catherine Swain is the Director of Marketing for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR). This state agency has a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina.

NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship.

Thomas Whalen

Safety Director, NC Dept. of Natural & Cultural Resources

Thomas Whalen is the Safety Director for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR). He brings over 30 years of experience in the emergency services and safety sectors, working with the state of NC for the last 16 years.

Invite your network!

This capstone online event will discuss the Art of Mass Gatherings experiences across North Carolina to converge and share insights, expand networks, and trade cultural assets. While this event will center on the NC AOMG experience, everyone is invited to attend and participate! 

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