This spring, Neill presented a new concept in hair shows: the carnival-inspired Next Fest. World-renowned artists and local up-and-comers took the stage in Houston (March 6) at Warehouse Live, and in Nashville (April 10) at The Cannery Ballroom to present their work at the music-festival style hair shows.


Music + Community

“We fused music and community with hair education in a bold new way,” says Tatum Neill, director of engagement for Neill and founder of Elevate Hair. “We had phenomenal artistry from a wide variety of artists: Renee Gadar and Naomi Dove really wowed the crowd with beautiful braids and natural hair shapes with explosions of vibrant color.”

Colton Jones and Katie McClusky from Jump Start, Neill’s new artist training program, caught the moment of a trend with their Euphoria-inspired presentation. Aveda color educators pushed boundaries of beauty as Alberto Swanson’s team showcased Aveda Next Gen hair color, and Ricardo Dinis demonstrated beauty through precision cutting to a captivated audience. This show had it all,” he adds.

And when main stage artists took a break, the “carnival” stages were activated, and attendees could watch local Aveda artists cut/style/color hair to the beat of the DJ’s music, and check out festival-inspired experience stations. 


The Music Fest Vibe

“The audience could watch great artistry, dance, have a drink, make friendship bracelets, snack at the candy bar, and even get a temporary or actual tattoo from a local tattoo artist,” Tatum says. “ The carnival was an immersive experience. No matter what piece of education you experienced,  you took home a positive feeling, and maybe a sweet new bobby pin tattoo.”

He adds, “We wanted to shake up the perception of a hair show and remove the stuffiness of the programming,” Tatum says. “The separate stage for local artists with a couple of dope DJs on stage with hairdressers, and an open  bar made the vibe come to life.”

Neill also produces Elevate hair shows, and will always continue to push boundaries to bring hairdressers creative, compelling live content.

“Producing a hair show is an act of love for our industry that is paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of our dedicated team at Neill and Aveda,” Tatum says. “Despite all the artistic risks, Next Fest was a success and we are in talks about when and where the next one will be. Until then, Neill will be hosting a few Elevate Hair shows around the country."

Originally posted on Modern Salon