Create the Opportunities You Want and the Change You Want to See by Hannah Hines, Founder of The Punk Pit Stop
Writing this is forcing me to accept that, yes, I am a women working in the music industry. This is what I’ve wanted to do for years but the goal seemed unattainable. Even now I am so busy being such a fan of the music and hardworking people I surround myself with that I forget that I need to be just as big as a fan of myself. My goal for writing this is to empower anyone reading, to let you know that you have all the potential and opportunity you need inside of you if you just chose to take advantage of it.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit – from selling pot holders at my childhood swimming pool to building up my classmates Neopets accounts in exchange for Fruit By the Foot. So in 2014 when I decided I wanted to start writing about music but had zero experience, I bought a URL with my friend and got started. I built up a portfolio of different types of writing and soon became a staff writer for idobi radio and The Alternative while freelancing to other sites. Getting a behind the scenes look into the industry allowed me to see both the strengths and weakness of how it operates. I learned the most from becoming friends with musicians that were still very much working their way up. On multiple occasions I’d ask my friends with apartments or dorms if a band could crash with them while on tour because a hotel was usually not in budget. I’d see tip jars at merch labeled “help us eat this week”. I’d meet bands hustling their CD in the lines outside shows just so they could afford gas to make it to the next city. I’d talk to my friends about what odd jobs / odd foods they ate just to be able to afford putting out new music. At some point I knew I wanted to help, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone.
At the beginning of 2016 I was seeing a lot of fundraiser pages for bands for various reasons, some vague and others specific. This sparked the main idea of crowdsourcing in some capacity but having it be completely transparent so fans knew where their money was going. The term “care package” came to mind as I saw college friends getting sent them from their family, full of food and other necessities that were simple but needed. Eventually The Punk Pit Stop was born – one stop on the journey to making the music industry a better place. I asked two of my closest friends who had different areas of expertise to join the team. Allison (who runs this incredible site, thanks) is based mostly in Chicago, Sara in Pittsburgh, and me in Baltimore but somehow we made it work with meetings in Sheetz or on FaceTime. It was a learning experience to build an entire website and make it commerce friendly but acknowledging what you don’t understand and determining to improve is key. Investing our own money felt important and humbling because we were all solidifying that we were serious about this project. Starting a project from scratch takes a lot of vulnerability but the fear of failure should never stop you from starting. The most rewarding aspect is not just seeing that fans are willing to help bands by buying the food / gift card / toiletries, it’s also delivering the final package to the bands and hearing how much it helps them out on tour. TPPS has now worked with 7 Minutes In Heaven, Marina City, 4 Door Theatre, and Capstan with more to come. Every time someone tells me that I am making a difference I am thankful that I didn’t wait for an excuse, for timing, for more money, for the proper experience to start. If you want to make a change or start a project, the only permission you need is your own. Surrounding myself with women who believe in me and my dreams has one of the most important motivators because they make my crazy ambitions seem not only sane but possible. The Punk Pit Stop is a product of compassion and passion, of three women who saw a need and wanted fill it despite a lack of resources. At the end of the day the only think you can’t afford to lack is a passion and a desire to chase it.
I am probably different from some of the other incredible women on this site because I am not as “qualified” or experienced – but that’s what WIMINsider is all about, letting “hardworking” be the qualification and using these stories to inspire the next generation. If you want to write or shoot you don’t have to wait for a publication to take you, start your own! If you want to tour manage or do publicity or management, hit up a smaller band and go from there. You don’t have to wait for the right time because it might never come. You can make a difference and you can shape your future. What you would you do if you lived in a bigger city? If you had more money? If you had more experience? If you had more confidence? If you had more followers? Do that now if you truly believe in it because that’s enough of a reason.
Check out The Punk Pit Stop's website: www.thepunkpitstop.com