At age 14, Cory Hajde put on his first concert, inviting friends to a VFW banquet hall in Willowick, a city located roughly 15 miles east of Cleveland, where the youngster was born and raised.

At age 14, Cory Hajde put on his first concert, inviting friends to a VFW banquet hall in Willowick, a city located roughly 15 miles east of Cleveland, where the youngster was born and raised.

"I got my cousin, who was 18 at the time, to rent the room out for me," said Hajde, 25. "One of my buddy's bands provided the PA and we found someone to run sound. … There was no adult supervision whatsoever."

The inaugural event was a success, too, with the four-band lineup drawing more than 250 attendees - a far cry from the 30 people Hajde initially hoped might show.

With BravoArtist, a company Hajde cofounded nearly five years ago with business partner Ben Leubitz (Leubitz has recently taken on a less active role after relocating to New York for work), the emerging booking agent attempts to recreate the feeling of that initial success on a nightly basis. This year alone, BravoArtist is on pace to put on more than 365 concerts stretching from Columbus (Double Happiness and Ace of Cups regularly host the company's shows) to Cleveland, where it packs venues like Beachland Ballroom and Euclid Tavern. In the coming years, the company plans to stretch its regional influence even farther, branching into markets like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

For Hajde, music has always served as both a stabilizing force and a means of forging community. Growing up, Hajde, whose parents divorced when he was a child, struggled to connect with his peers, and it wasn't until he first attended concerts early in high school that he started, in his words, "making real friends and meeting people I could trust and relate to."

"Growing up in a Catholic home I felt sheltered, and I felt like I needed to open up more to the world," said Hajde, who has the words "balance" and "composure" tattooed prominently on his body, one on each forearm. The words hold dual meanings for the booker, referencing songs by Christian metalcore band August Burns Red and serving as a set of guiding principles (Hajde has struggled with anger issues in the past and even logged brief time in a juvenile detention hall as a teenager). "When I [discovered] music … it felt like it would take me somewhere that would force me to improve myself as a person."

In 2013, after graduating from Chicago's Columbia College with a degree in marketing, Hajde relocated to Columbus, helping BravoArtist book early shows for bands like Modern Baseball and the Front Bottoms. Both acts - once regulars on the house-show scene and now capable of drawing upwards of 800 to 1,000 ticketed fans - have career arcs similar to the company, which has grown in each year of its existence.

Despite the scale of the business, Hajde said his attitude hasn't changed from his first forays into booking, and the financial gains still pale in comparison to the sense of community-building that takes place at shows.

"The people who haven't really discovered themselves, I especially want to get them out to shows and have them engulfed in a community that could really help them become better people," he said. "I need to be booking certain bands because I feel the message is strong enough to help a lot of people, or to make them feel good and get them excited about something. This is in my blood."