So I have started my research into the events industry but as I said in my previous blog post, the best was to learn is through a first hand discussion with a professional in the industry or direct experience. Therefore, this week I was lucky enough to meet with Polly Miles, a friend from way back who now works in the music events industry in Brighton. I was able to attend one of the evening events that she had helped set up to see how the event runs and how she plays her part, help out where I can as well as learn about the other aspects of her career and how she got to where she is.
Polly’s official title is the Booking Agent for Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, dealing with ticket sales. However, this also covers many social media duties, advertising upcoming events to ensure people come to the event and creating an online to build up the events community. As this is a fairly small-scaled events planning business Polly would also get involved in a whole range of other roles. These include:
- Researching potential bands
- Contacting and negotiating with bands
- Sourcing equipment
- Overseeing set up on the night
- Selling tickets on the door
- Dealing with any unexpected problems
It seems, as you work in events, you naturally lend your hand where you are needed to begin with and gain skills as you go. Learning on the job.
Talking further with Polly, we began to discuss her own business, Acid Box Promotions, which she set up two years ago now. The aim of the business is to promote and host bands at specifically organized events, encouraging more live music across the Brighton scene. Another more recent creation of Polly’s is Bitch Craft, a female collective that organize an event on the last Friday of every month designed to showcase awesome female artists who rock! It’s this initiative that I think is crucial in events planning and Polly’s success is obviously due to her skills, passion for music and her perseverance, but also due to her amazing ability to identify an idea of area of music that she believes needs to be better showcased and then going out and getting it done herself, bringing people together in the process. It’s this attitude of creating your own opportunities and experience that I found really exciting when talking to Polly and it’s a concept that I would like to work on and apply to my way of thinking.
Polly studied at Eastbourne Vocational College and her career partly originated from her participation on a Student Radio Channel where she hosted the live music section of the show. Here she gained contacts, which later helped her out when setting up a business. This show also led to an internship that contributed to where she is now. This is proof that getting yourself out there, doing whatever you can and talking to professionals will lead onto something, this may not be where you are expecting to end up but it’s one more step in the right direction. Polly said to me that, things just seem to happen, one thing leads to another and once you find your way into your desired industry, you will gradually find new areas within it and people and places to explore. This is how Polly got to where she is and this concept could be applies to all industries and seems to be the most common way of finding out where you want to be. Sometime you just have to go with the flow and see where it takes you. There is no one set track to one set job. There are many roads you can travel but most of the time you build your own road. Every contact you make, experience you gain and skill you learn helps you along the way.
You have to put the effort in though. Polly has a very hands-on approach and she has not succeeded without effort. Everything is tough when you start out, but with her energetic approach and positive attitude Polly has preserved and now works in an industry she loves in a job where she does brilliant things, allowing bands the opportunity to showcase their skills and putting a great night of entertainment on! One of the most valuable pieces of advice Polly gave me about events organisation (which could really be applied to any job) was to try not to stress. Polly says she stresses herself out half as much now compared to how she used to. She realizes that with events, things just have a way of working themselves out. As long as you are fully engaged and enthusiastic about the event you are working on, even when things go wrong on the night (which will happen 99% of the time) things always work out. This may be very important to keep in mind as I go into my third year at university!