Family entertainment ties give Track 29 hospitality manager a different perspective on the industry

Family entertainment ties give Track 29 hospitality manager a different perspective on the industry

May 22nd, 2012 by Casey Phillips in Life Entertainment

Kindal Jumper is Track 29's artist hospitality representative.

Kindal Jumper is Track 29's artist hospitality representative.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.


Age: 23.

Occupation: Hospitality director at Track 29 and accountant at Soundcheck Studios.

Family: Parents Ben and Katie Jumper; brother, Case Jumper; and sister-in-law, Britten Jumper.

Education: High school, Notre Dame (graduated 2007); studied small business and entrepreneurship at Troy University (graduated 2010).

Hometown: Chattanooga.


Food: Sushi.

Band/artist: Luke Bryan.

Movie: "The Hangover."

Book: "Water for Elephants."

TV show: "Smash."

If, as Shakespeare suggested, life is a play and all men merely players, Kindal Jumper is one of the rare people with a backstage pass.

Her parents, Ben and Katie Jumper, have owned businesses touching on several aspects of the entertainment industry, from catering and production to equipment storage and rehearsal space. As a result, she grew up attending her parents' events and spent time around acts such as Metallica and Aerosmith.

Jumper said she can't imagine life without working with the stars, despite the hassles she's experienced -- being uprooted to move to Atlanta so her father could work the 1996 Summer Olympics, for example.

"I created a love for it, and I don't see myself anywhere but doing things in the entertainment industry behind the scenes," she said.

In high school, Jumper began working part time at Soundcheck, a Nashville-based music equipment backline, storage and rehearsal company her parents purchased in 2004. By January 2011, she was working there full-time.

Last summer, she became an intern at Track 29 during the lead-up to the venue opening in September. Soon after its launch, she was hired on as hospitality manager.

Despite their occasional eccentricities and frustrating demands, Jumper feels right at home making artists' experience at the venue as pleasant as possible. She said the position has convinced her to follow her parents into the entertainment industry.

Although she still works as an accountant for Soundcheck, her work at Track 29 has provided an opportunity to step out of her parents' shadow, she said.

"With the reputation my father has in the industry, I have always been able to get that first step in the door, but it is up to me to be able keep that door open," she said.

Q: What are your responsibilities?

A: First and foremost, I keep the band happy. I'm here from the time they arrive to when they leave. We'll pick up groceries or pick up food for them or take them to do laundry. When Gavin DeGraw was here, we had to take him to dance practice. You never know what you're going to get until they pull in.

Q: Do you still enjoy shows when you're in the audience and can't go backstage?

A: No. [Laughs.] My friends will ask me to go to a show, and I'll go, but I won't get into it like I would if I was a member of the general public. It's not as glamorous backstage as everyone thinks. I don't go to shows unless it's something big.

Q: What was the last show you went to that you weren't working?

A: The CMAs [Country Music Association Awards]. Soundcheck did the backline for that. I sat in the audience, and I enjoyed it. I had a blast.

Q: What was your first moment of feeling starstruck?

A: I would say it was with Justin Timberlake and N Sync ... my idol at the time. It was in 1997. It was one of their first tours. I passed [Justin] in the hall. Somehow, I got a [teddy] bear someone had given him with a WWJD shirt he signed.

Q: What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

A: Dealing with the bands, sometimes. If they're quite needy, you want to tell them "No," but you can't. You put a smile on your face and say, "Sure, I will do my best to get that done for you." Sometimes, they can be little divas back here.

Q: Pop culture portrays artists as making picky, pointless requests. How true is that?

A: The majority of them are easy. Sometimes, we'll all be running to try and keep up with them, and sometimes, we're just here hanging out and waiting for them.

Q: What's a sign to you of a job well done?

A: When the tour managers thank us and say they'll be back, that it was a great show and that everyone was hospitable and great and kind and caring. That's when you know it's a good day.

Q: What characteristics do you need to have to be a hospitality manager?

A: I would say [being] patient and level-headed and able to tell an artist "No," if it's an insane request. You can't just say you'll get it for them just because Jake Owen is here and he wants something.

You can't be starstruck back here. Bands have to walk and see the crowd, and they have to deal with flashes and cameras in their face and signing autographs. [Backstage] is the only place they can come and be normal human beings. I want them to feel normal and be able to relax.

Q: What's the most common request you get?

A: Their bottled water. It needs to either be spring or purified. You can't mix it up. They're very specific about their waters.

Q: Who had the strangest request?

A: Jack White had to have freshly baked cookies made from home, not from a bakery. So ... we made them.

Q: What request was the hardest to fulfill?

A: Jack White wanted sheets to do something onstage with. They weren't right, so we went back and exchanged them, and they still weren't right, so they left them here. It's like, "We did all that work, and you just left them here?"

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

A: Dealing with all the different people who come through here. I'm a person who likes change. I like everything fast-paced and to keep moving. It's kind of chaotic, but fun.