Former laxer's Fortune5Fifty is Baltimore's cultural destination

We like to keep tabs on fellow laxers. Periodically, Lacrosse Playground features profiles and interviews with what lacrosse players are doing in the business world.

Founded by a former college lacrosse journeyman, Austin Widdowson (Vermont, Gettysburg, Messiah), started as a Baltimore based Entertainment and Production Company and keeps Charm City residents up to date on the art, style, music, and party scene. F5F sees no end in sight. F5F has plans to produce and host a handful of unique events, teaming up local charity organizations with talented artists and musicians. Networking in and around the culture and community they love to put the Charm back in Charm City.


How did you come up with the concept?

The idea was conceived at Baltimore’s Starscape Music Festival in June of 2007 after an epic night of music. I’ve always been focused on started out as a creative escape and now has evolved into a revolution. My philosophy is to overthrow the masses by bringing the most conscious content possible. Commercial music and media outlets such as MTV and Clear Channel have taken the funk out of music and brain washed our generation into accepting mindless party music as a social norm. My goal with Fortune5Fifty is to redirect the spotlight to where it truly belongs on the music, art and style of the underground. We built our model on a grassroots level and its become a snowball running down a hill. I couldn’t stop now if I wanted to.

Who are your partners/colleagues?

Fortune5Fifty is the brain trust of myself and Bryan Cosgrove (aka DJ B.Cos), both Baltimore/MD natives. We co-founded this company as a media outlet to promote and enhance the underground music scene in the Mid-Atlantic. We’ve since parted ways to pursue our own individual musical endeavours. Bryan Cosgrove is focused on furthering his musical production company, Charm City Sound (see I have stepped up as editor-in-chief of F5F and taken our original concept to the next level.

Currently I am partnered with Chris Keating (director of artist relations), James Braun (promotional guru) and Sunrise Design’s (creative web and graphic design company) Mike and Dan Brenner. We’ve developed a team mentality where all members play an intricate roll. No one member is more important than another and we all share the unified goal of spot lighting the most conscious content the underground has to offer.

How do you know each other?

At the very core we are all friends. Business partners, yes, but friends first and foremost. And I’d have it no other way.

What steps did you have to take to get the company off the ground? Has it been a long time coming?

Baby steps, deep breaths, and lil prayers…faith has played a tremendous role in Fortune5Fifty. We’ve been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities. The key is to make the most of them and I’m proud to say we’ve defiantly been able to ride the wave. We are far from perfect, we’ve had our fair share of obstacles along the way. The key to our success thus far has come from team work. The lacrosse philosophy of ‘man-ball’ translates directly into the job force: lean on your teammates, always have each others backs, and work together towards a collective goal.


Is it hard to balance your personal life and this site?

Honestly, No. I’ve worked many jobs in my life. Most of which were chasing a paycheck. This business allows me to focus my attention on my hearts true desires. If I wasn’t networking for F5F I’d still be front row fist pumping at shows. Its always been about the music for me.

Where do you pull the information from?

Our content is a direct reflection of our personal life experiences. We all consider ourselves musical gurus and its become almost competitive to one up each other on fresh new music. We’ve been lucky enough to develop a wonderful rapport with several local and national acts and as a result we developed relationships where they send us new music on the regular. There’s nothing like getting a new track or mix that no one has heard yet. I live for that.

Many don’t understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur, especially in this economy. How did you support yourself while building your website and company portfolio?

Hustling. I am by no means raking in the millions, but I aspire to. I use the expression “grinding” all the time. What I mean by that is riding the wave known as life to the best of your ability. You cannot control the circumstances of life but you can control your reaction to them. It takes a keen sense of awareness to visualize a goal. That’s the easy part. The real test is to make that vision a reality. Work should be a labor of love…I wish someone had told that to me after college. I spent a tremendous amount of time and energy coasting through a 9-5 and woke up one day and said, no more. Don’t sell out. Do what is in your heart. Easier said then done. But know this, the first step is the hardest. Now I am managing a snowball running down a hill, not knowing where my next pay check comes from, and loving every minute.

How did you get funding for your company?

We’ve prided ourselves in being self-made. We started with nothing, and we are just starting (2yrs later) to see a return.

Why would a person visit your site? How is it beneficial for a person? Do you think there is a high demand/need for the information that you provide?

Why? The proof is in the pudding. We grew up in the MTV generation. It saddens my heart now to turn on MTV now and get sucked into Jersey Shore (guilty pleasure, don’t judge). Music Television, really? Some how the music has been lost in the mix. Fortune5Fifty coined the mission ‘where MTV went wrong and where Rolling Stones cannot go.” We aspire to bring our readers a commercial free view into the musical pulse of today.

Describe your demographic…

18 to 30-something young adult/business professionals. We focus on the Electro, Rock, Hip Hop, Jam Band community but hope to have our product transcend all demographics. Music is universal.

Who are your competitors?

We don’t really have any direct competitors. We’ve taken a neutral approach and have reached out in a collaborative way with all other like business ventures in Baltimore.

Fortune5Fifty is a collaborative inspiration of several of our favorite companies…such as L-R-G, Fader Magazine, Russell Simmons, Unruly Records, Steez Promo, and the list goes on and on.

How has lacrosse helped you? Has it molded you into who you are today?

As you all undoubtedly know Lacrosse is one giant fraternity. When the high school/collegiate pads are hung up for good once sworn enemies become best friends. Networking in and around the lacrosse community is second nature at this point.

The game itself taught me some of life’s greatest lessons…hard work is Paramount! The basic details make all the difference…ground balls truly do win games! And above all else, play with heart…leave it on the field. At the end of the day you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, I gave it my all.

To check out for information on the next big event, Electronic Snowball on December 26.

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In 2009, Adam O’Neill, Harry Alford and Thomas Alford launched Lacrosse Playground as the preeminent site for lacrosse gearheads. For years Lacrosse Playground provided lacrosse fans with tutorials and tips on how to string a lacrosse head, up-close looks at the gear the top players used and sneak peeks at equipment and uniforms before they were released. More than 10 years and millions of visits later, Lacrosse Playground has relaunched with a focus on storytelling. Our mission is to provide comprehensive coverage of the latest lacrosse news, share insights into the sports betting and fantasy lacrosse world and showcase the lifestyles and personalities of the sport of lacrosse through articles, videos and podcasts.


  1. young buck on December 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Great Great Article!!! Well done Austin and co.

  2. Dan B. on December 11, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Tom – this article is fantastic. Great, great perspective on F5F and some of the great minds behind this massive. Look forward to bookmarking your blog, and reading more of your work. Hope to see you at the Snowball!

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