event mentor POV #5: Bobby Dutton of GrooveBoston

By August 2, 2016Mentor POV

We’re talking to another top #eventprof and mentor this week!

Time to catch up with Bobby Dutton, Director or GrooveBoston and one of Special Events Magazine’s 25 young event pros to watch!

Headshot Image by: Pizzuti Photography

Headshot Image by: Pizzuti Photography

Bobby is explaining how he got to where he is today and where the idea for GrooveBoston came from. He’s also sharing his advice for training interns and telling us why aggressively managing your calendar is the secret to boosting productivity…

Bobby Dutton from GrooveBoston – EVENT MENTOR POV INTERVIEW

How did you first get involved in the events industry?

I was originally drawn to DJing because of the way it blends technical gadgetry with creative performance.  So, I started doing concert production, to explore the world of massive-scale technology – sound, lights, FX, etc.

I LOVE that stuff. 

The big “a-ha” moment came when I realized that there was nothing in-between:  The largest “DJ show” at the time was far, far smaller than any “full-scale” concert production.

I wanted to see what could happen if we supercharged a DJ show, by adding all the benefits of concert tech with all the versatility of a great DJ show.  GrooveBoston was born in 2004, and we’ve been pushing this model ever since.

On average, how many interns do you work with every semester?


What do you think are the most important skills you need as a mentor for event interns?

Communication is key.  Process and information need to be organized and moving efficiently, to create an environment of growth – for everyone involved, and for the company itself.

What tasks do you typically delegate to your interns?

It depends on the department.  We bring in interns in roles from Technical Production to Music Support, to Branding & Marketing, and everything in-between.  We like to expose them to existing process, and see which area(s) they gravitate to (and feel that they can contribute to).

If everyone is working on areas that called to them, everyone will come out on top.

What’s the best thing about being a mentor?

As our internship program has evolved, it has encouraged us to always be looking at how our team goes about our operations and events.  There’s always room for improvement, and bringing in new perspectives periodically has helped us stay current, creating a better machine for all of us.

What’s your very best life hack tip you’ve learned along the way as an events professional and/or as a small business owner?

Manage your calendar.  Aggressively.

If your calendar has hours and hours of gaps on it each week, you are not making good use of your time.  I keep one day each week free. I call them “Open Format Tuesdays” and I don’t schedule ANYTHING on those days.

Otherwise, I’m calendared down to the half-hour.  It includes drive-time to meetings, recurring events, and even reminders to get a coffee or grab lunch.

My calendar now governs my day – not my inbox.  It’s been a massive leap for my own self-management. It’s helped keep my work life productive and my personal life (and sanity) protected.

What’s one event or project you’re working on right now that you’re super excited about?

As I write this, I am en route back to Boston from New Orleans, where I spent the last week.  I got involved in an organization called Event Pros Take Action (EPTA). We come together each year to work on post-Katrina relief efforts.

I helped on house construction, taught a seminar on happiness and success for at-risk kids, helped produce a carnival for families that live in a shelter, and built an incredible sound system for a family’s new home.

The EPTA group is comprised of some amazing people from the industry – from all over the world. Over the years, we have become a tight-knit family.  This project has been an amazing, challenging, and humbling experience.

It has reminded me that it’s our job to make people happy.

As for actual events that our team is working on, we are about to launch Proximity, our 8th US Tour – and I’m really excited to unveil it to the world!

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