The balloon meister for Moo-La Fest is Josh Sneed of TEA Promotions outside of Austin.
Sneed has carefully selected 15 balloon pilots for the balloon festival. He began ballooning in 1988 when his father took him on his very first flight, and from there he was hooked on ballooning.
While his father was taking flying lessons, Sneed would accompany him on his flights and help with his tethers. He and his father traveled to various states including Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas for their flights.
His love of ballooning has continued into adulthood and his own certification.
He now shares his craft with others as a pilot and balloon meister, and hopes to inspire the next generation of balloon enthusiasts.
The balloon meister ensures all FAA regulations are followed and is in charge of all the balloon activity for a balloon festival.
A balloon meister also verifies that all balloon pilots have met the FAA requirements. Because weather plays a primary role in ballooning, the balloon meister must monitor and follow all weather activity, especially wind.
“A great deal of effort and experience goes into each balloon launch at a festival,” Sneed said. “Although I am a FAA certified pilot, you will find me on the ground during Moo-La Fest verifying the safety and monitoring the balloon activity from there.”