Pushing a lawn mower on a hot summer day in small-town Bentonville, Ark., was the beginning of a one-stop-shop music business conglomerate for a Belmont freshman.
“I had six or seven houses up and down the street,” Garrison Snell said. “I would push the mower and think, ‘What do I want to do?’”
“When I called up venues, I wasn’t just Garrison Snell, this kid from Bentonville,” he said. “I was the owner and operator of Red Dog Music Group.”
Snell appeared legitimate to concert venues as owner of his own company, which provides services in management, promotions, production and booking, according to his website.
Music business was his driving passion, so starting Red Dog Music Group while he was still in high school was an easy decision for Snell. At Belmont, though, Snell originally wanted to focus on his other talent: playing the drums.
A setback in the music department caused Snell to turn to the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business with a double major in music business and marketing.
“I’m just better at the administration side of it,” Snell said. “I love to play, but sometimes you just can’t to do it all. So you just do what comes naturally, and you still work at the rest of it, too.”
To develop his talent in music business, Snell looked not only to the Curb College but also to his own creation, Red Dog Music Group.
“If I’m going to do what I want to do and what I’m passionate about in music, you got to do it right and you got to start early and you got to hit it hard,” he said.
That’s why the freshman decided to bring his Arkansas company to the movers and shakers at Belmont and beyond in Music City.
“The whole point of coming to Belmont for me was it’s very connected to Nashville,” he said. “It’s a hundred yards from Music Row. I can hop on my bike, ride over to Music Row, walk into a building with one of my business cards and make a connection. It’s not hard.”
The music entrepreneur also makes a point to allow neither his academics at Belmont nor his freshman status to get in the way of growing his company.
“That, to me, is an advantage. That makes me a little more noticeable if I can blow someone’s mind by selling out a writer’s night as a freshman,” Snell said.
And with help from friends, he did just that. His recent “Freshman 15” showcase at the newly opened BLVD Music Shop on Belmont Boulevard attracted a packed house and spotlighted some of the artists on the Red Dog Music Group roster, including freshman Joseph Barrios.
“Garrison puts a lot of work into these projects, and even though people may only see my face and name on the posters, he is typically the one responsible for making sure it gets to where you can see it,” Barrios said.
Barrios described Snell as ambitious and “willing to do the dirty work for his artists.” He credited Red Dog Music Group for showing him the direction his career can take at Belmont.
Being the owner of his own company has already led to great things for Snell, including a personal phone call from Lady Antebellum’s superstar producer and music business veteran Paul Worley.
But these connections are just the beginning of the ride for Snell.
“I want Red Dog to be associated with big successful events and happenings that go on in Nashville and at Belmont,” he said. “I want to be the guy that can make something happen. I hit the ground running here [at Belmont], and I want to do the same thing when I graduate.”
Snell knows accomplishing his goals with the company will be challenging, but to him, it’s all worth it.
“When you’re sitting down at 11 o’clock at night and you’ve got your website pulled up and Joseph’s [Barrios] music playing in the background … when all the stuff comes together and everybody’s really on board with it and they all are passionate about it, that’s really cool.”
Joseph Barrios, along with fellow Red Dog Music Group artist Mackenzie Leigh Wilson, will perform on Nov. 7 at the Curb Café. That’s followed by a performance Nov. 8 from Red Dog’s Matt Enick and Jim Lill. Both shows start at 7 p.m.