Alex graduated (or should I say dabbed, literally) from our Music Promotion course a few months ago. We ran into him while we were working at Bestival with our student crew and he was working in artist liaison. So we decided to catch up afterwards.
So what was your role at Bestival and who did you work for?
My role was artist liaison for the Invaders Of The Future Stage with SC Productions.
Note: definitely one of the coolest venues with acts like Creeper, The Japanese House, Black Honey, Moose Blood, Milk Teeth, Pinegrove, Spring King, The Wytches, you get the idea..
There was a lot of talk about budget cuts at Bestival. What did you think of this year’s festival?
It was quite noticeably scaled down from previous years, most obviously seen by the size of the main stage. But I think that they excelled in the real important part which is creating a completely unique temporary world. Wherever you find yourself that weekend, you know you’re at Bestival, there’s always something strange going on, and I find that really special.
You managed to land a paid role through SC Productions who offer artist liaison volunteer roles at many festivals for Solent students. What helped you go from a volunteer to a hired crew member?
I did some artist liaison volunteering for SC last summer through Solent and I was lucky enough to be invited back to work with them this year. It is important to show up, work hard, be professional and be friendly. All the generic things that you’re supposed to do to make a good impression. Do that.
Would you say your course helped you land these roles as well?
Definitely. It gave me opportunities that I could build from. Would recommend.
I noticed you went to many festivals as a punter. Did you work at other festivals too?
I worked with SC Productions at Camp Bestival earlier in the summer too. I also worked at Boardmasters through my internship with Vision Nine Entertainment Group. I hope that SC will invite me back to work with them again at their events next year.
Did you pay extra attention to making industry contacts?
I wasn’t really thinking about it. Festivals are amazing places to network because everyone is there; tour managers, promoters, stage managers, press, etc, but the contact making comes naturally.
I know you work on a few music projects on your free time. Is artist liaison the area you eventually want to get into?
Basically I want to work in live music. If artist liaison is what allows me to do that, then I’ll pursue it, but I’m keen to continue working in any area I can to experience more. I’m currently doing an internship in the finance department of Vision Nine (lol how?) so I’m certainly broadening my horizons. Aside from that, I’m pushing on with some friends with Above The Waves Promotions which is branching out into several new exciting areas.
Note: Above the Waves Promotion started as a third year major Uni project, which continues to promote shows in Southampton with acts like The New Tusk, Sad Blood, Boxkite, Donovan Wolfington and many others.
Well, finance is an essential part of live music. How did you find the internship and what do you get up to?
I found the internship just by searching around for what might be out there. I knew I wanted to work in live events and festivals so I started researching the companies that manage them which is how I came across Vision Nine. The role probably isn’t something I would usually apply for, but the plan was to get my foot in the door of the company and push on from there. That being said, I’ve probably learnt a lot more in this role than I would in any other, in finance you see every bit of the company and can really get a scale for the size of the operations you’re helping to run. Meanwhile I’ve also been able to help out in areas of event management, production and marketing so I’ve got no complaints. Through them I have spent my summer working on NASS Festival, Boardmasters Festival, Masked Ball and a few other events. Plus they recently extended my internship for an extra two months so I’m clearly doing something right. Work hard, kids.
What do you recommend to students who want to pursue a career in live music?
Just be pro-active, as with any field, push for it and work for it.
Tell us about your top festival highlight this summer.
This is a really hard question. I worked within the core team that runs Boardmasters so it was a really cool feeling to be able to look at any little thing within the festival and know exactly who made it happen, from the stage design to the placement of the portaloos. It’s that or seeing Glass Animals at Bestival, they took me to another planet.
What does the near future hold for you?
Continuing with my internship until the end of the year and then going home and getting some well earned rest while I figure out a plan for the future.