ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH
For bringing top Latin American alternative music to San Francisco for over 20 years, LatinSF has chosen Adrian Goddard as its Entrepreneur of the Month.
Despite recent headlines that might suggest otherwise, Venezuelans are an entrepreneurial people at heart. For proof look no further than Adrian Goddard, founder of Jaffe Events.
The story of Adrian and his company begins in an unlikely place: interwar Europe. Fleeing persecution, Goddard’s grandparents found liberty, refuge and a new life in South America- a region of the world that has historically welcomed immigrants and refugees with open arms. Their family name, Jaffe- which means beautiful in Hebrew- served as inspiration for Adrian’s venture into the music and events production industry.
At age 20 Adrian left his native Caracas, Venezuela and arrived in San Francisco with a scholarship to study at the California Culinary Academy. Upon graduation the initial steps in his career took him to the Ritz Carlton and later to various local Spanish restaurants, where as an assistant manager he began to promote the restaurants by incorporating live music shows on a weekly basis. What began as an innovative way to bring in hungry customers with a good taste for music eventually became the starting point for his successful pivot to entrepreneurship, founding Jaffe Events in 2002.
With years of experience acquiring talent for Carnaval SF’s two-day festival that attracts over 150,000 people, Adrian started his own company with the goal of promoting primarily Latin shows in the Bay Area and incorporating the new sounds of and crossover rhythms of this genre of music to a very diverse and multicultural audience. Jaffe Events has worked with eclectic musical acts such as Julieta Venegas, Si-Se, Celia Cruz, Bomba Estereo, Jarabe de Palo, David Bisbal, Caifanes, Café Tacuba, Calle 13, Los Enanitos Verdes, Bebel Gilberto Manu Chao, Los Van Van, and Tito Puente to world-renowed, Grammy award winning artists including Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Los Amigos Invisibles. On a local level he has worked with up-and-coming artists and groups like Mos Def as part of the Band Shell Music Festival and the Oakland Music Festival.
Beyond enriching San Francisco’s arts scene with the sounds and rhythms of Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and everything in between, Adrian’s work also enriches the local economy. Jaffe’s shows, which have been held across the city in places including the Cliff, the Mezzanine, Roccapulco as well as venues elsewhere around the bay such as the UC Theatre, the Cornerstone and the New Parish in Oakland, bring dozens of jobs and opportunities to contractors in the region- approximately 50 per event, in addition to also bring business to local venues which enables them to remain commercially viable.
Adrian’s work and mission extends beyond music and also entails culture and philanthropy. Every year he organizes tequila tastings and arranges for block parties in the Financial District, bringing DJs, musicians, food trucks and over a thousand people to celebrate over important days for celebrating San Francisco’s diversity- including St. Patrick’s Day, 5 de mayo and Bastille Day. And for those not quite old enough to enjoy tequila or other Latin American alcoholic drinks, Adrian organizes an extra special event- partnering with Toys for Tots annually to bring holiday cheer to needy and vulnerable children in San Francisco (last year alone obtaining 1,500 toys).