Food & Drink
Inspire Productions to host 3rd Annual Truck or Treat and Oktoberfest
Trey Diller and Mike Niam have quickly become the festival kings of the northside with Inspire Productions LLC, a full-service event planning, entertainment, and production company that specializes in large festivals, private events, corporate events, benefits, fundraisers, and parties. From “Beyond the Pints,” a sampling of many beers with live music, to “Cigars & Ideas,” an elegant business networking event presented by NFL great Ray Lewis, to the popular Texas Taco and Margarita Festival, Mike, Trey and the entire Inspire team are producing successful festivals and events throughout Montgomery County and Houston area.
Inspire Productions’ next big event will be the 3rd Annual “Truck or Treat,” a family friendly and Halloween themed food truck festival. Due to mother nature, the team decided to combine The Woodlands Oktoberfest, previously scheduled in September, with the Truck or Treat festival. For those who have previously purchased or won tickets to the Oktoberfest event, all tickets will be honored at Truck or Treat this weekend on October 27, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Green Park in The Woodlands.
Get ready for a spooky good time along with everything that would have been at Oktoberfest! The dual festival will feature food trucks, cold drinks, live music, costume contest, kids zone, beer, wine, cocktails, locks vendors and more. Kids 12 and under are free. Tickets are available for purchase online here and at the gate the day of the event.
Learn more in the Hello Woodlands interview with Trey Diller and Mike Niam of Inspire Productions.
Tell us the story of how Inspire Productions started?
Trey: “Inspire Productions started when a friend I play basketball with, Ray Ethridge, who played for the Baltimore Ravens with Ray Lewis, asked me if I could help him put together a unique event in Houston during the Super Bowl for Ray Lewis. Mike who was also my college roommate at Wofford College just got new territory in Texas working for Cybex and attended a few of the events I did independently and really soaked it all in and had fun. I mentioned the opportunity that Ray Ethridge presented to me and it was immediately lets do it. We produced the first event on Feb 3, 2017 and produced another 15 events after that with many more in the plans for the future and 2 more left in 2018.”
How did you come to be a partner in Inspire Productions?
Mike: “Trey and I were college roommates at Wofford College and we played football together. We were always very close as friends and stayed in touch after college. My career at the time moved me to Dallas in 2015 and during this time I reconnected with Trey. He was putting together Beyond the Pines music fest at the time and I started to take an interest to the industry. I came down from Dallas for the first couple of events that Trey did in The Woodlands and started getting more and more involved. When the opportunity came for us to produce Ray Lewis’ Super Bowl party in Houston, I decided it was time to go all in on this industry with Trey and we partnered up and started Inspire Productions.”
What makes Inspire Productions festivals so successful?
Trey: “The fact that we are doing something that caters to the community but also incorporates components like food trucks, kids zone, artisan vendors, live music, for a very affordable price in a market with many people that are looking for activities to do every single day gives us the edge in this community. The Woodlands produces many great events, but they also have a standard to stick to. Inspire doesn’t mind to get a little on the wilder side and add some components that most towns or cities wouldn’t have either. We keep the ticket prices very affordable and have great food that people need to survive.”
What has been some of your most successful events?
Mike: “Our #1 event is the Texas Taco Tequila & Margarita Festival. We have produced the event four times since 2017 and have had great outcomes all the way around (except for some rain in Sept 2018). The attendees LOVE the festival and they keep coming back for more. Another very successful event that we produced was the Tribute to the Woodlands Music Fest in March 2018. This event was a tribute band music festival with covers of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, CCR, Van Halen and more. This event was so popular in The Woodlands because the people really got excited to hear some of their favorite music of all time all in one place.”
Inspire Productions for you is a family affair? Tell us about your family and shout out to your friends involved.
Trey: “A family affair. Haha, yes, my mother and father are at every single event supporting this venture and bring lots of value to the table. My little sister is usually bartending somewhere with my fiancé Kristin who might be joined by her Mother, 2 sisters, cousin, and other close friends. In this industry, there are lots of transactions being made and you want trustworthy people handling all of the money. It takes an entire team to produce the events we do and our team is pretty amazing.”
Your tagline “An experience to remember,” who thought of that?
Mike: “That was a collective brainstorm between Trey and I. We were really trying to capture the essence of what we do in one short line. We produce events and festivals for people but what we really do is create experiences for them. We want people to leave our events with a brand new experience that they will remember and tell their friends and family about. We believe that life is all about the experiences you have and the people that you share them with. With every event, we do our best to create more of those memorable experiences for our customers.”
What made you all decide that kids under 12, police, teachers, military and first responders get in free to most of your festivals?
Trey: “With the amount of service the first responders, teachers, and military provide everyone, it only makes sense. That is one part of our events that will never change no matter how big we get. As long as they are currently employed and have an ID that states any of this, they are FREE. Food and drink is not included. Entry only. As for the kids, I sure wouldn’t have wanted to miss all of the fun so if know the entire family will be able to come out for a reasonable price, we are going there.”
What is on the schedule for the rest of 2018?
Mike: “Well, this weekend we have our first ever collaboration event, The Woodlands Oktoberfest / Truck or Treat Halloween Food Fest! Due to September weather, we had to postpone our Oktoberfest. Since we had the 10/27 date already secured for Truck or Treat, we thought why not combine the events and celebrate the two best October traditions all in one place in one day! Then, we are back at Town Green Park on December 15 for the Holly Jolly Food Truck Festival! This event is sure to bring you all of the holiday cheer and spirit. Kids get a chance to meet Santa, we will have amazing food as always, great drinks, live music, a free kids zone, market vendors, and so much more.”
Any big news or plans for Inspire Productions for 2019?
Trey: “That’s funny you ask. Just recently we brought on a new partner in the business, Haden Shibley. Haden was a former C3 Presents and Encore Live team member. From major talent buying to producing the inauguration for Trump, Haden brings lots of value to the team that will take us to the next level. We also brought on an in house designer that is completely rebranding everything from our logo, icon, style and appearance that does some tremendous work and is also local.”
“We have a super exclusive event called Revival that will take place on March 13 in Dripping Springs, TX. This experience will be all inclusive food and drink, up close and personal, super intimate with 8-12 national touring artists, family style feasts, and bonfire acoustic sets, capped at around 400 people, we are creating something so unique and niche, that hopefully one day we can be on a yacht with some A List celebrities and musicians and 75 others, cruising in the Gulf doing the exact same concept. Revival….Just remember that.”
“March 16 – 3rd Annual Woodlands Shamrock Shindig at Town Green Park – St Patrick’s Day Festival
March 30 – 2nd Annual Tribute to The Woodlands Music Festival at Town Green Park. Earlier this year we did it in The Woodlands and in Conroe and both events were very well attended and people had a good time. Lineup has already been set and you are going to Rock Out on March 30.
May 18 – The Texas Taco Tequila and Music Festival in Old Town Spring where it has been the previous 2 years, amping up the entertainment, decreasing the taco vendors but doing more of a panel with judges to even be able to participate as a vendor, bigger carnival, more activities, bigger overall production. Thetexastacofestival.com
May 25 – Nueva Ola Music Festival-New Wave Music Festival-San Antonio Texas. Nelson Wolff Stadium. Latin, Reggaeton, Afropop, High Energy music festival. Food trucks. Carnival. A List musicians. A market that hasn’t been tapped into as much as it is in demand.
Fall 2019 – Nueva Ola Music Festival in Old Town Spring with the following weekend being The Texas Taco Tequila and Music Festival in San Antonio. Looking to create the same lineup each event but different cities but perfect it and produce a real Texas Fiesta.
Still considering the events that we created the last 2 years again but with the amount of people involved and the scale we are stepping on, we don’t want to lose focus on one and take away from the others. We have thought about bringing in others to help produce the Burger Bash, Beyond the Pints, Truck or Treat, Holly Jolly, Masquerade, and others. A lot goes into these events and with the strides we are making we don’t want to get off track. The best way to be informed on everything we do is to just follow our social media at @inspireproductionsllc on Facebook and Twitter.”
How do you become a vendor or volunteer for upcoming festivals?
Mike: “Very simple. Go to inspireprod.com , click the ‘become a vendor’ tab, click the event flyer that you want to apply for, and complete the application. We will receive the app and notify you of your approval/denial very shortly after.”
How do you decide what the entertainment line up for each festival will be?
Trey: “We try to stick to the theme/style of the event for the entertainment while also keeping in mind that there are lots of local musicians that are talented that would like a platform to get in front of some local residents and sing their music. That has been the case the last 3 years. In 2019, the biggest change we are implementing is going to be the talent and entertainment. From the A List headliners to the support acts, decor, activities to do, and everything else, we have since brought on one of the best talent buyers in the state of Texas and he has already given us much more access and credibility than we would have been able to get being a relatively new promotion and production company.”
What partnerships has Inspire Productions formed since the beginning that has really helped with the growth and success of your festivals and events?
Mike: “We have an amazing group of partners that we work with to put these events together. It takes a team effort to successfully put all of the moving pieces of the puzzle together for a festival. A few of the vendors that we work with on our end are exclusive providers for us. Whether it be tenting, tables, power, staging, lighting, catering, etc, we have strong partnerships in each area and that gives us the ability to make moves quickly and the confidence to know things are being done correctly 100% of the time. We also have built strong partnerships with our sponsors, Planet Ford, America’s ER, Grand Central Park, Costco, Chick-fil-A and many others that have been pivotal for our success.”
Setting up and tearing down a festival and all the planning it takes, what has been the most difficult?
Trey: “I truly enjoy what my day to day work life is like. Having produced now 25+ events of all sorts and sizes, we have a pretty good operation down to get cleaned up the night of on most of the day long events. We still have to go clean and sanitize everything off site, but I would say trying to create new events that are more unique and different than all the other events taking place around the area. We sit at a table all the time and just throw ideas around and that’s how we turn these ideas into a vision.”
How does it make you all feel, when food trucks have set record sales at Inspire Productions festivals?
Mike: “It is a great feeling to know our vendors are having successful days at our events. It definitely lets us know that we are on the right track when we hear about record sales at our events.”
Outdoor festivals are a big risk in South Texas? How do you handle the stress of weather forecasts before an event?
Mike: “We try to put ourselves in the best position possible from a planning standpoint when we choose our dates, times of the year, etc. We also always have adequate tenting and cover at our events in case there is rain and we have plans in place in case of inclement weather. But, there is no controlling mother nature and when bad weather comes in, it can definitely put a damper on a festival. We plan to do our best to choose dates that fall on sunny days for all future events.”
What are some popular food trucks you have had out at your events?
Trey: “I believe most of them are popular in their own individual way. I love the fact that I can go to any truck and get a sample portion of any food just to see what funky stuff is really good to eat. They call me Chef Boy R T at my house. But to name a few in no particular order, Greek Squad, Oh My Gogi, Moyz Street Food, Refill Station, Brazilian Joes and too many more to list. We try to mix it up as much as possible and depending on the nature of the event, we keep it within the realm of the event. In other words, we don’t want a hamburger vendor at The Texas Taco Tequila and Music Festival. Notice the new name change from The Texas Taco Tequila and Margarita Festival. Got some big plans for 2019.”
Each of your events Inspire Productions gives back to a non-profit charity, tell us more about that?
Mike: “We want to give back organizations that make a difference in people’s lives. We have an opportunity to give exposure to the non-profits that we work with and help them spread their cause. We have worked with quite a few different organizations over the past couple years and we are always looking to align ourselves with groups that are helping people.”
Trey: 5 Words to describe Inspire Productions?
AN EXPERIENCE TO REMEMBER Y’ALL!
Learn more about Inspire Productions, the Woodlands Oktoberfest / “Truck or Treat” Festival, and upcoming events at InspireProd.com.
Nick Rama is a food writer, contributor of Hello Woodlands, and shares his restaurant experiences on Nick’s Local Eats at NicksLocalEats.com and the Q Up The Burgers Facebook page. Nick enjoys helping the small business owner, supporting his community with fundraising for food banks, and plans tasting events with locally owned mom and pop restaurants.