Superfly, and Velvet Sea Ventures Partner to Reimagine Festivals

JDS Sports, Snowfro, Nick Tran, Mike Dudas and GFunk join $7M round days before the launch of SUPERF3ST – a first-of-its-kind community planned music and arts festival

NEW YORK, July 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Superfly, the pioneering creator of the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands music festivals, announced today the launch of SuperNFT™ in partnership with Velvet Sea Ventures (VSV) and to foster new types of communities through next-generation live experiences.

Created by Superfly founders Rick Farman and Rich Goodstone and long-time collaborator Michael Lazerow from VSV, SuperNFT’s Series A investment round was co-led by Velvet Sea Ventures and Tom Brady’s and joined by JDS Sports and Art Blocks founder Erick Calderon, also known as Snowfro, who created the groundbreaking Chromie Squiggle generative art project. Pixel Vault, Inc. founder Sean Gearin (a/k/a/ GFunk), marketing executive Nick Tran, LinksDAO founder Mike Dudas, and his 6th Man Ventures, and Roger Ehrenberg’s Eberg Capital also participated in the round.

SuperNFT’s first event will be the SUPERF3ST™ project, which will mint 3,000 SUPERPASS™ NFTs, giving holders the exclusive opportunity to aid in the event planning as “SUPERF3ST Founders.” This unique approach offers SUPERF3ST Founders, as founding members of the SUPERF3ST community, governance/voting, and input into decision-making about event features, such as musical and artistic guests, art installations, creative activations, culinary experiences, merchandise, marketing, timing, location, etc. Each SUPERPASS NFT represents one vote in these creative decisions about the SUPERF3ST event, along with access to festivals and live events. The SUPERF3ST Founders mint will take place on July 15th.

“SuperNFT’s product is not NFTs or festivals,” said co-founder Michael Lazerow. “Those are just the mediums and tools we plan to use to create the ultimate goal, a deep community of creative souls who want to create the future they envision.”

Leading the company will be CEO Tori Stevens, a 15-year ESPN veteran who directed planning, staging, and business operations globally for the X Games, the world’s leading multi-day, multi-sport action sports events. Superfly founder Rick Farman, Velvet Sea Ventures partner Michael Lazerow and Autograph Chief Operating Officer and Chief Business Officer, Ted Russell, will serve on the company’s board of directors.

Other founding team members include Creative Director Caroline Kerr, a vinyl DJ, and long-time artist relations and creative executive, marketing and community chief Corey Nocco of creative agency 11 Ounces, and Lead Artist Donte Neal, a self-taught multidisciplinary artist and respected purveyor of music culture.

“When Mike and Rick first told me about the SUPERF3ST concept, I was in,” Snowfro notes. “The intersection of algorithmic art and blockchain technology empowers Art Blocks artists to release their generative work under a new paradigm for both the artist and the collector. This same shift will power community creativity by working collaboratively to explore new forms of iconic IRL experiences. I look forward to providing creative inspiration to help reimagine the modern festival by putting the artist and collector community at the center.”

SuperNFT represents a dream come true for the Superfly founders, whose Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee pioneered the modern American music festival. Fans came to Bonnaroo to see their favorite bands but stayed connected to the vibrant, always-on community. 25 years and thousands of shows later, Bonnaroo and the other events Superfly founded are known more for their community of fans and friends than the music itself.

The SUPERF3ST project is Superfly’s attempt to once again push the festival world forward by creating a truly decentralized event — one that is inspired by and built by the SUPERF3ST community. The SuperNFT team and investors’ roles are as facilitators and collaborators of the community. Whatever the SUPERF3ST community crafts, SuperNFT will execute at the highest level, on par with the dozens of events already under the teams’ belt.

“Our goal is to launch a truly iconic and historic celebration of music and culture powered by your ideas, creativity, passion, interests, and excitement,” Superfly’s Rick Farman said. “We expect the SUPERF3ST project to be much more than a single annual event. Like Veecon, it will serve as the annual summit for a community of like-minded epic human beings who are proud to call themselves SUPERF3ST Founders.”

Music and art fans interested in becoming SUPERF3ST Founders can mint a SUPERPASS NFT on July 15th. SuperNFT’s inaugural NFT mint will provide the opportunity to obtain SUPERF3ST Founder status. Holding SUPERPASS NFTs will be the only way to influence the SUPERF3ST concept by voting on creative decisions about the SUPERF3ST event. 1 SUPERPASS NFT = 1 vote. Holders of the SUPERPASS NFT also get access to the exclusive SUPERF3ST Discord channel, SUPERF3ST Founder access to the first SUPERF3ST festival, access to SUPERPASS hospitality area at all SUPERF3ST festivals, ability to participate in the festival Field Trip Program, priority NFT ticket minting rights, and SUPERF3ST Founder-only air drops and invites to community events.

“The Web3 space is hungry for transformative events,” Pixel Vault founder and CEO GFunk said. “I can think of no better group than Superfly, Velvet Sea Ventures and the amazing group of creative minds they have brought together to inspire the community to create an epic cultural event while also serving as an important platform for communities like Pixel Vault.”

About Superfly

Superfly is an entertainment and brand experience company obsessed with activating and amplifying communities around common passions and unforgettable moments. Superfly's expertise is building cultural experiences with a distinct identity such as the iconic Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, The FRIENDS Experience, The Office Experience, Prince: The Immersive Experience, BravoCon, and REVOLT Music Summit, that are equally desired by brands and destinations for fans. Superfly delivers brand experiences for clients including Citi, Intel, NBCUniversal, Verizon Media, and CLEAR by blending strategy, insights, creativity, technology, and flawless execution.

Working across sports, music and entertainment, Superfly has been named Global Experiential Agency of the Year by The Drum, and their experiences have been honored by Event Marketer, BizBash, Campaign, and Digiday. Superfly is headquartered in New York. Learn more at, and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About SuperNFT™

SuperNFT™ empowers NFT communities to manifest and curate meaningful real world experiences that help transform online interactions into life-long relationships. SuperNFT creates original NFT projects and also helps members of existing communities come together to design and co-create experiences they had previously only imagined. SuperNFT’s first project, SUPERF3ST, is a first-of-its-kind music & arts crafted, curated, and programmed by a community of 3000 co-founders who share a love of music, arts, live experiences, and NFTs. SuperNFT is backed by Velvet Sea Ventures and Tom Brady’s as well JDS Sports, Art Blocks founder and Chromie Squiggle artist Erick Calderon, also known as Snowfro, Pixel Vault, Inc. founder Sean Gearin (a/k/a/ GFunk), marketing executive Nick Tran, LinksDAO founder Mike Dudas, and his 6th Man Ventures, and Roger Ehrenberg’s Eberg Capital.


SUPERF3ST™ is a first-of-its-kind music & arts crafted, curated, and programmed by a community of 3000 co-founders who share a love of music, arts, live experiences, and NFTs. Facilitated by Superfly, the creators of Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, SUPERF3ST’s goal is to launch a truly iconic and historic celebration of music and culture, powered by a diverse community’s ideas, creativity, passion, interests, and excitement in summer 2023. SUPERF3ST was created by Superfly founders Rick Farman and Rich Goodstone and long-time collaborator Michael Lazerow from Velvet Sea Ventures who will guide the community with decades of experience as entrepreneurs in emerging technologies and live community events. Additional information can be found on the SUPERF3ST site at

About Velvet Sea Ventures

Velvet Sea Ventures (VSV) is an operator-led venture capital firm that goes beyond capital to help entrepreneurs turn their visions into reality. Built by a family of entrepreneurs, VSV couples seed-to-growth stage capital investment with hands-on strategic support and guidance. Current Velvet Sea Ventures portfolio companies include Scopely, eToro, Liquid Death, LeoLabs, Autograph, Strigo, SuperRare, Elementus, and Pixel Vault. A full list of portfolio companies can be found here.

About Autograph

Autograph is an NFT platform that brings together the most iconic brands and legendary names in sports, entertainment and culture to create unique digital collections and experiences for users around the world. Notable Board of Director members include Sam Bankman-Fried, Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd, Peter Mattoon and Michael Meldman. Co-founded by Tom Brady and headquartered in Los Angeles, Autograph is ushering in a new era of collecting through a streamlined and inclusive process, authentic and creative products, and exclusive partnerships. Members of the star-studded Advisory Board have dropped their first collection that all sold out in record time with Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, Tony Hawk, Tiger Woods and more.

About JDS Sports

JDS Sports is a sports, entertainment, and technology holding company investing at the intersection of content & commerce and in the next frontier of the web. Spanning private equity and venture capital, select investments include: SLAM, Autograph, Dibbs, Buzzer, Aglet, round21, Framework Ventures, and more.

Having completed a $7 million investment round, 3,000 NFTs will be minted and distributed on July 15 to fans wanting to help plan the SUPERF3ST festival.

Superfly, Velvet Sea Ventures (VSV) and Tom Brady’s Autograph. io are officially unveiling their latest partnership: SuperNFT. The project’s debut event will be SUPERF3ST, a community-built and Web3-powered music festival taking place in 2023.

On Friday (July 15), 3,000 NFTs (dubbed SUPERPASS NFTs) will be minted and distributed to fans, who will in exchange receive the opportunity to help plan the upcoming festival as a SUPERF3ST Founder. SUPERPASS NFT owners will be a part of key decision-making moments from choosing a lineup to merchandise to location and more.

Ahead of the minting, SuperNFT completed a $7 million Series A investment round with participation from JDS Sports, Art Blocks founder Erick Calderon (Snowfro), Pixel Vault, Inc. founder Sean Gearin (GFunk), marketing executive Nick Tran, LinksDAO founder Mike Dudas and his 6th Man Ventures and Roger Ehrenberg’s Eberg Capital.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” admits Superfly co-founder Rick Farman of pitching funders. “What we are trying to do has never been done before. To be honest, I was shocked that both the community and the first investors we spoke to understood SUPERF3ST and jumped on board. I was surprised that, very quickly, our investment round was significantly oversubscribed. Our investors are providing much more than money. They believe in Web3 and the power of community and are working closely with us to help open doors and reimagine the future.”

Farman also notes Superfly’s long and successful history working with VSV (which led the investment round along with, saying the venture capital company “has been at the forefront of the Web3 space with its investments into SuperRare, Autograph, Pixel Vault and more.” As such, VSV co-founder and managing partner, Mike Lazerow, is familiar with one particular challenge when it comes to funding such projects: the economic model.

“We have made it clear that we are optimizing for stakeholder value,” he says. “And the most crucial stakeholder in our world is the community member. We plan to be transparent with SUPERF3ST financials and invest heavily to ensure the event’s success. I have been a part of public companies, and building a public company is very different than building a private company. SuperNFT represents a new type of company — one that [has] built-in public accountability, not only to shareholders but to community members who are building with us.”

Adds Farman: “We are using the new NFT technologies to do something fundamentally human — to create and collaborate as a global community. That’s exciting as I come out of my third decade as an experience creator. Superfly invented the modern festival. SUPERF3ST is our way of reinventing it.”

The SUPERPASS was designed by multi-disciplinary artist Donte Neal, and is his first-ever NFT. The art, which depicts a zoomed-out crowd shot in front of a festival stage was aimed to capture “the universal symbol that represents excitement, community and festival culture: hands in the air,” says Superfly creative director Caroline Kerr says. “It was important to us to begin with one universal founder’s pass and at the same time represent all types of festival goers within the crowd of hands.”

She adds that in the future, holders will be able to earn traits to individualize their passes as well as boost their levels of participation. “We’ve built in a creative canvas that encourages our ethos of the more that you put in, the more you’ll get out,” says Kerr, calling the SUPERPASS “an ever evolving vessel for collaboration.”

As Farman says: “When you go to a typical festival, you go with a friend or group and you meet new people along the way. Some of those people become great friends. Many don’t. But that all starts when the festival begins. SUPERF3ST flips the order. Instead of representing the beginning of many relationships, the festival is the culmination of many months of working together to create the festival … I don’t remember what happened at my favorite festivals, I remember how I felt. If we do our job right, the 3,000 founders will throw an event that makes people feel great.”

Web3 startups are helping NFT-interested brands to spin up rewards to create super-fans

When the creative minds behind iconic music festival Bonnarroo launched a new venture this summer, they turned to NFTs to create SuperF3st, a Web3-based, year-round party committee. It's bound together by blockchain technology, and a shared love of “music and art and culture, essentially creating this first of its kind music and arts festival,” said Tori Stevens, CEO of SuperNFT, a new branch of the festival organization SuperFly. Artistically designed non-fungible tokens, while available for purchase, are not the point. The organizers hope to sell 3,000 “superpasses,” the holders of which will become the founders of the festival. They will make decisions about when and where the main event will be held next year, and which acts to highlight; creating stakeholders in the success. So far, SuperF3st counts 882 founders. Passes cost about $500 and can be bought by credit card or in Ethereum, the cryptocurrency of choice for many NFT programs.

SuperF3st worked with a startup NFT loyalty and rewards platform called Hang, which just raised $16 million, and is using NFT and blockchain technology to help brands run loyalty programs to develop new methods of working directly with fans. “It incentivizes people to stay engaged, and to be voting, and one of the goals is to reward people with greater utility,” Stevens said of SuperF3st’s reward-based structure.

In the festival space, a digital “founders” pass could provide special access at shows, discounts on merch, and other perks. These are the makings of a new kind of rewards program, at a time when many brands are spinning up their own loyalty platforms. Loyalty programs are definitely having a moment, with every brand from Pizza Hut to Best Western developing them. Part of the impetus, too, is that the landscape for data is changing. Online platforms such as Apple and Google are phasing out cookies on web browsers and preventing internet tracking on devices, making it more difficult for marketers to reach their customers. Meanwhile, Web3 startups, developing NFTs, digital wallets, and crypto-tokens, are starting to see the potential to bring this technology into rewards programs, and ultimately into marketing.

It’s not just startups, either. Longtime marketing technology players such as Salesforce and Adobe have built NFT functionality into their platforms, and Amazon promised to support NFT functionality “down the road.” Even if someone thinks NFTs are just an inflated fad, marked by flashy sales of questionable digital artwork, the technology behind them is weaving its way into marketing infrastructure through rewards and loyalty programs and as vehicles for first-party data collection and management.

“The approach that Hang is taking is really right for the time that we’re in,” said Michael Gubman, a strategic growth specialist who has worked on NFT programs at TikTok and NFT startup Bitski. “The brands that adopt it now are going to lead the way on these new consumer touch points.”

Hang has a software development kit that brands can plug into their websites and apps to mint NFTs and build loyalty programs. Hang builds marketplaces where consumers accrue rewards through joining loyalty programs, and one of the benefits of NFT technology is that there is “liquidity,” so consumers can trade, sell or rent their rewards to other consumers. The promise of Web3 is that there will be interoperability, too, meaning these rewards can travel with a consumer wherever they go, physically or digitally. Increasingly concerts and other events are being held in virtual worlds and NFTs are collectible, like Pokémon in augmented reality.

Hang has worked with Budweiser, which has developed a virtual horse racing experience with Zed Run, a popular destination for NFT enthusiasts to bet on digital ponies. Hang has also worked with frozen yogurt brand Pinkberry and sports website Bleacher Report. Budweiser has been one of the leading brands in Web3, trying NFT programs through its relationship with its agency Vayner3, which is a part of VaynerMedia. Budweiser was not immediately available for comment on its Hang partnership.

The alcoholic beverage brand is a good example of a product that is typically sold in stores and stadiums, where the brand does not have a direct relationship with the customer at the point of sale. NFTs are one way to build that direct relationship, according to Hang CEO Matt Smolin.

“When you look at Budweiser more specifically, or any kind of beer company, they sell their product in bars, they sell their product at a grocery store, they sell their product at a gas station,” Smolin said, “and they don’t really get that first-party data on who their user really is, but with the interoperability factor with NFTs, what could happen in the future is, I as a consumer can bring this thing [NFT] with me wherever I go for those purchases, and at that point I’m opting into the brand being there with me, but it’s worthwhile because the brand is actually giving me a benefit.”

The NFT programs are data-rich points of contact between brands and consumers, at a time when there is a scarcity of data, said Tyler Moebius, CEO of SmartMedia Technologies, a Web3-style ad and marketing technology firm. SmartMedia has worked with brands such as Fjällräven, a Swedish apparel maker known for its backpacks. In one campaign, Fjällräven distributed digital backpacks through targeted ads online, and consumers who picked up the backpacks digitally collected them inside NFT-based wallets. Wallets are essential to NFT collections, as the place where people hold their virtual items, rewards, passes and cryptocurrency. Brands are looking for ways to connect to those wallets as an important component of Web3 marketing, much like cookies were an important piece of marketing in Web 1.0. Wallets are in some ways a new identity solution for the online marketer, giving insights into the interests and characteristics of consumers.

SmartMedia ties its Web3 marketing to traditional programmatic advertising through a demand-side platform. “We are currently a cookieless solution,” Moebius said. “In the future, it’s purely about wallet ownership. A wallet is a significantly rich data depository.”

SmartMedia has worked with a variety of brands, including KFC, Ben & Jerry’s and Rosewood Hotels and Resorts. One of the biggest hurdles to wider adoption, though, is that most people are not familiar with the technology and they don’t own cryptocurrencies. A report this week from Morning Consult hammered the point, saying that the metaverse “is still far from mainstream.” The survey found that 64% of U.S. adults know “not much” to “nothing” about the metaverse.

Meanwhile, headlines of late have not been good for NFT enthusiasts, who have seen marketplaces like OpenSea announce layoffs amid a “crypto winter.” This month, when Sony PlayStation launched a digital rewards program with NFT-like collectibles, execs were insistent not to call them NFTs.

Morning Consult’s survey did find a bright spot, particularly for festival brands like SuperFly’s SuperF3st: “Entertainment is the biggest draw to platforms that power the metaverse, and it shows,” Morning Consult wrote. “Just look at the buzz that entertainment-related metaverse events generate, like the Ariana Grande concert in Fortnite, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Roblox and the virtual Justin Bieber concert organized by interactive experience company Wave.”

One of the keys to NFT and metaverse marketing is to make it as easy as possible for the consumer to collect NFTs, join programs and swap rewards, without even needing to know about the blockchain or other technology that is hard to master, Hang’s Smolin said.

“That buyer and seller may not even know it’s on blockchain and still be able to do it,” Smolin said.

“There is a larger market of brands that haven’t done anything in this space,” Smolin said. “And when we speak with them, we tell them don’t worry about the word NFT. It’s just technology. It doesn’t mean anything, and in a few years no one’s going to be saying it. But how can we build a better system and program for you that will actually be substantially better for your customer than anything you’re already doing.”

The rewards are the point, and in that category, brands are starting to use NFT technology to create tiers of super-customers that also are invested in the success of the brand, since that earns them more valuable goods and services, in Smolin’s estimation.

“If this is a new valid class of assets that starts to grow market share in a significant way then brands want to be at the forefront,” Gubman, the NFT specialist, said. “Brands have to figure out how to give loyalty programs a lot of value. In the old days, you accrued points and if you couldn’t use them they expire or lose value. By having the ability to trade, sell or transfer points, they don’t have to lose value, and even if they lose value to me they may be valuable to someone else.”