Greenbelt Festival: A Work Experience Series: DAY TWO

The most important thing I learnt today was; THINGS CHANGE A LOT, and can do very dramatically. There was a moment in the office where for about 2 hours a situation occurred – lucky it was all resolved very quickly and was down to failed communication and a misunderstanding. But it made me realise how shaky organising a festival can be because there are so many different groups of people involved; from the acts and performers to the hundreds of volunteers, the catering, partnerships & funding, contractors etc, the list goes on. It amazes me that all the development and responsibility for this festival that has over 20,000 spectators is managed by a staff of 11 people.

Tuesday’s in the office is the staff meeting, self explanatory. It was very interesting to hear what everyone is having to deal with, from sorting out visas and taxes , to planning the designs for the t-shirts that are to be sold. I spent the day making sure all the information for music acts and the speakers for the talks were on the system, then creating a standard email to send to the managements of the acts that haven’t provided any information.

The interesting thing about what I have been doing is seeing how sometimes the communication from different people isn’t always working as some of the acts that are confirmed bookings for the 2011 festival have been entered in twice – what this means is that someone, in this case myself & a few other people, have to go through each sub division and make sure there is only ONE person for contributor and bookings. When you sit at the computer & have a good understanding of the system they use it is a very simple task but VERY time consuming and also equally important, however trying to explain what you have to do is much more complicated, hence why I am assuming the last part made little to no sense to all of you!

I have now met all 11 staff members, however my next problem is how to get to know them all better, because from my prospective it is up to me to ask questions about what each of them does so I can get a better understanding, however I have no idea how to do this! Remember I have already been given jobs to do and complete and everyone is obviously very busy ‘working’, so how do I start a ‘conversation’ with members of the staff who I am not working with at the moment without it seeming too ‘strange’ and ‘forced’?

How to become an Event Manager: WORK EXPERIENCE

If there is anything that will set you apart from other candidates, allow you to gain and develop skills and network it is work experience. There is nothing more valuable than this, yet sadly it isn’t too easy to find.

When I first decided to study event management and attended the open days I was told that work experience was crucial in getting accepted on the course. I immedently went home and searched event companies in my local area and went about emailing around 25 of them asking if they would take me on for work experience. I recieved only ONE reply.

On my course I had to complete 90 hours of work experience to pass one module, for many on my course they found it very hard to find companies that would take then on due to the fact that many places can’t afford to take on students. The saying its who you know, not what you know if in many cases true because with events it is about building a relationship with many different people therefore it is important to ‘network’ and gain a contact list which will enable you to meet more people in the industry and in turn gain more experience. 

Cold calling isn’t always an effective way to go about contacting event companies about their work experience opportunities but it can sometimes work! I would always say EMAIL them first, but don’t expect a reply as a lot of companies are far too busy.

Below is a list of places that would be worth a look for work experience:

Hotels: Many hotels have ‘inhouse’ event organisers. They are more likely to be able to take you on for work shadowing & experience and are really great places to gain skills. Hotels host venues for weddings, conferences and corporate events and these businesses may even be able to pay you.

Bars: Special events such as bands playing, celebrities hosting and parties are all forms of events and if you are over 18 (sometimes 21) it can be very benificial helping and working at places like these.

Festivals: These are very easy to gain skills from and are go to places for experience as most festivals are looking for volunteers even if you are stewerding for any of the summer festivals you are meeting event coordinators and working on making sure the events run smoothly.

Charity events: Again a very very good way to gain experience and sometimes you can have a much bigger role as they look for local people to help plan and organise these events.

School/University events: These are not only a lot of fun but putting these on your CV make you look very good and if you do this regularly then you can update your CV to show that you are doing a lot of current work.

Remember to keep you CV updated and always get references, write down what you did and what role you played and talk about what you gained from the experience.

The ability to show that you have the skills to work in the event industry is very important as is actually knowing what you are doing.

I am currently working as an Intern at Greenbelt Festival for part of the summer, it is unpaid and is something I arranged for myself, however the skills, experience and chance to meet new people it totally rewarding and very vital for my own personal experience. 

Remember WORK EXPERIENCE is often the most important aspect when applying for jobs.

If you have more questions for me either leave a comment below or email me or send me a tweet @Imdamnstudent


Greenbelt Festival: A Work Experience Series: DAY ONE

You know that feeling you get of utter excitement but dread at the same time, thats what I had when I left the house this morning to start at the Greenbelt office. And understandably, because no one wants to make a fool out of themselves on their first day. I got dressed in my smartest pair of black trousers, my trusted stripped jumper, my black “business” blazer  and my work boots (due to the RAIN), looking a good brand of ‘smart, casual with a bit of London chic thrown in.’ Lets be honest I am still 18, a University student and a girl, so I wanted to look good, but not knowing if the office attire was SMART-SMART or CASUAL-CASUAL I opted to dress in-between so as not to get it too wrong. And you will be glad to hear it worked, I fitted in with the mixed array of shirts and jeans pretty darn well, not bad going for a newbie.

In regards to the actual work I performed, my role as an Intern is to offer an extra pair of hands to all who need it, and that is exactly what I did. Working alongside the Programme Team I spend my first day looking through all the artists and speakers that are confirmed to perform over the festival weekend, (26th to the 29th of August 2011 – tickets are still available), and seeing if they are on the websites line-up. I then spend the rest of the day/afternoon adding in the new bookings for the performance stage, all which will find its way to the website in due course, making sure that each artist has a bio, web links to their websites/facebook/twitter/myspace and a picture. Then adding them to the non announced list I previously made. Looking at my whole day summarised it doesn’t look like an awful lot, however if you consider I had to look through over a 150 confirmed acts to see who was on the website & then cross reverence various emails to find the relevant information you can see why this took me a whole working day to do, not that my hours were very ‘9 till 5’.

There are only 11 staff members in the office, all who were really nice and very kind. The office space is  full of interesting things, like the toy bat that sits by the stairs into the office and the posters from previous years festivals. Its a very open area with two big rooms where most of the staff sit and quite exciting atmosphere to be working in.

Tomorrow I shall update you with other interesting happenings, right now I am off to finish my book & then back to WORK.