Case Study-Music Festival

The Client: A large national law firm

The Event: Associates Weekend; Greensboro, GA

The Participants: 270 associates from around the US

The Message: Make connections, grow your business

The Plan: Create a large festival using many genres of music for people to work together to create songs, compete, and express their business issues

The Outcome: A lively, competitive, and exuberant group of performances with the winning group going over the top to take the prize!


This program took place at a golf resort outside of Atlanta with about 270 lawyers from a prominent law firm—I know that this sounds like the beginning of a lawyer joke… (whaddya get when you put 270 lawyers in a room in Georgia….?)  We were doing our new “Music Festival” offering, where groups write songs from various genres—rock, blues, country, pop, etc. The participants were in teams of 27 groups of 10 people; each team wrote their own song in one of five musical genres—rap, blues, country, classic rock, and modern pop/rock.

After completing their songs, an elimination round was held in breakout rooms to determine which 12 teams (out of the 27) would get to perform the songs they wrote onstage for the evening finale.  Then one of the 12 would be named the Lawyers Got Talent winner.

The way the process went was that there were six “pods”—groups of five or six teams—each of the teams in each pod wrote a song in their genre during an evening session. The next day each pod met together in a separate room to decide on which two teams from their pod had the best songs, and would represent their genre in the evening finale.

This is the story of one group that was in it to win it.  They were in the classic rock genre, and enthusiastically wrote a new version of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing called Don’t Stop Billing (yeah, I know…).   During the rehearsal time given before the voting in the pod room, the protagonist group in question realized that no fewer than four groups of the six in their breakout room had chosen Don’t Stop Believing.  They needed to stand out! 

On the spot they also decided to open with a skit dramatizing the premise of the song.  It had some pretty funny lines!  One of the team members had already gone out to a local farm supply store and bought a cowbell with the idea of incorporating the classic “More Cowbell” Saturday Night Live skit into the performance somehow.  Somehow in the rush of ideas they decided to transition at the end of their song into Katie Perry’s song Firework, complete with a fireworks display from someone’s iPad projected on the ballroom’s main screens!

They went from one of the crowd of Don’t Stop Believing teams to their own mini showcase!  They got chosen to represent their genre, and wowed the crowd onstage, getting a standing ovation and a big laugh when one of the guys interrupted the song and said, “What this song needs is more cowbell.”  When applause-o-meter time came, they pegged it out, taking the grand prize; and they even got brought up for an encore performance of their medley by the enthusiastic crowd.

So, the morale of the story is—what do you need to do to step up your game?  To go from one of the pack to a stand out a winner?  Creativity, enthusiasm, intention , a bit of healthy competition, teamwork, some fun, and…don’t forget—more cowbell!