UCF student helps found Optic Music Group
Three young men are pushing the limits to give Orlando music lovers the best experiences possible.
Josh Sherman, a senior interpersonal-organizational communications major, has teamed up with Oscar Peterson and Eric Arroyo to create Optic Music Group, a music-promotion company that concentrates on providing clients with the most unforgettable experiences possible.
"Optic is labeled a promotion company, but we are so much more than that," Sherman said.
Launched on Jan. 1, Optic has since grown as an entertainment company in Orlando, focusing on booking artists and venues, planning events and creating marketing strategies.
To refrain from limiting themselves, the young men of Optic book EDM, hip-hop and comedy shows.
The owners, however, are no strangers to the music business.
Each has owned a separate promotion company prior to joining forces as Optic. Peterson, for example, began Unforgettable Entertainment after promoting for other local companies.
"I slowly started realizing that if I'm going to bring hundreds of people to other peoples' events, why don't I just bring hundreds of people to my own events?" Peterson said.
With a demographic ranging from ages 15 to 50, Optic has the option to book a variety of talent.
But, its main demographic is college-aged teens, and they aim to provide UCF students with a fun, cheap and safe way to party.
"Incoming freshmen always need that new hip place to go to, or want to know where the parties are. We assist them in just that," said head promoter Chase Heatwole. "We offer safe and reliable transportation to anyone going to UCF so they can avoid getting in trouble or even worse, getting hurt."
Round-trip bus tickets are usually $10, which include admission into the club on various nights.
The company also plans to offer internships to UCF students in hopes of providing them with hands-on experience in a promotion company.
"We're going to give someone real-world experience that can't be taught," Sherman said. "You learn it the hard way, you learn it from being out there and grinding and seeing it in person."
Concert tickets to see international DJs, such as Cosmic Gate, Slander and Stööki Sound, start at $10.
While EDM or hip-hop events are for more of the younger crowd, the comedy shows draw people of all ages.
"Most of the guys [in Orlando] are EDM promoters, so if you go to all their shows, everybody is under 25. You go to our shows, you'll see 40-year-olds partying at our events and you'll see 18-year-olds partying at our events," Peterson said.
Optic also hosts weekly parties at local nightclubs, such as Vyce Lounge and Gilt, that showcase local talent. Music lovers are welcomed to show off their dance moves, and glow toys such as gloves or poi are permitted.
"The parties are pretty great. I feel like they're always planned out nicely and everything runs great together," said John Lowry, a freshman and frequent visitor of Optic's Saturday weekly Encore at Gilt.
The size of Orlando gives Optic an advantage, as it is not too big, but big enough to draw a large crowd.
"Since it's a big enough city, but not big enough that there's a major company around, we're able to be that major company and able to bring the talent," Peterson said.
Although Sherman, Peterson and Arroyo possess a variety of music tastes and opinions, the trio has developed into one well-oiled machine.
"We're arguing about how we can make the ultimate experience, and that's what's so awesome about our partnership," Sherman said.
The music, meeting new people and creating a memorable experience is all apart of what makes the hours of work worth it for the owners of Optic.
"We look out at the crowd after all the months' work and we see these kids smiling as if they're having the greatest time, and we're like, 'We did this, that's what we do,'" Sherman said.
Erin West is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.