Carly Flecknoe is the director of Grampians Music Festival taking place in Halls Gap, Victoria in February 2019. She juggles this and running her own cafe and by the sounds of it she does an amazing job at both! Read on to learn the ins and outs of what organising a festival involves!
A job description in your own words
As Festival Director of Grampians Music Festival, my job can be pretty diverse! Essentially, I am the captain that steers the festival ship but I have some pretty amazing sailors underneath me to help me get to where we need to go. A lot of my job involves paperwork, understanding certain legislation, being very organised and being a good adjudicator. I make sure that the festival stays on vision and on course, that everything gets planned on time and that we make sure the festival is above
board and legally sound.
A brief daily journal over a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
I think I need to start this by saying that I also run and own a cafe in Halls Gap each day!
I start my week by checking my to do list and anything that has come into my inbox over the weekend that I haven’t actioned and generally get my head back in the game. On today’s agenda is following up suppliers to get information to submit our planning permit to our local council. My main focus today is checking in on how our waste quote is going. This means ensuring that our toilet company is locked in and ready to go. We’re also liaising with our rubbish company so that we can dispose of waste in line with our new environmental sustainability policy. Currently they don’t have a means of disposing of organic waste separate to general rubbish meaning it would all go to landfill. We’re seeing if we can change that! Today is final sign off today for our advertising script for PBS Radio so I have a read, re-read and another re-read of that before giving the OK. The GMF line up posters are soon to go to print, which means that our artist liaison is double-checking the placement and spelling of artist names, so we meet our print, and artwork deadlines with press.
Tonight is our festival committee meeting which happens each fortnight. So I spend this morning updating our project plan to ensure that any missed deadlines are visible and any outstanding tasks can be addressed. I catch up with our infrastructure team to see how they are going with finalising our site map and site equipment requirements. I send off requests for merchandise artwork and get the items into our online ticketing platform so people can purchase before and pick up at the event. This is really important to us so that we can ensure there are no plastic bottles on site. People are able to pre-purchase a stainless steel water bottle online that they can then refill at the festival. During the evening, I join our committee of volunteers to discuss how the festival is tracking and any important issues that need to be addressed.
I follow up on locking down merch artwork to ensure that everything is in line with our branding. We will have some gorgeous large posters up on walls around Melbourne so I finalise discussions with our distribution company and lock down the dates that they will go up. Wednesday is also my only day not in our cafe, so I decide to have a meeting at our local winery, Pomonal Estate, so that it can happen over a glass of Riesling. We discuss the finalisation of the infrastructure hiring quote. I also have a quick phone meeting to confirm some elements of our social media strategy with The Social Crew.
Today is a pretty intense cafe day, as we get ready for the weekend. I do manage to have a quick touch base with KarTent about their cardboard tents at our camping partner’s site. I also confirm with one of our patrons about disability access and companion carers. The good news comes through that poster placement is finalised!! A quick catch up with our finance guru helps settle how we will manage a couple of upcoming invoices and confirms sponsorship payments have been
The festival this year is hoping to extend its operating hours and needs to submit a case to the Environmental Protection Authority about staying in operation beyond noise pollution guidelines. I follow up with key stakeholders in our local area for letters of support to help us with our case. Discussions with a couple of our key suppliers about co-marketing result in some updates to our festival website. As we’re nearing line up announcement, EDMs needed to be proofed and distribution lists needed to be finalised so that our partners and artists can be given all the necessary information and artwork prior to announcement. 5.30pm rolls around and after a full day in the cafe and multi-tasking on my laptop and phone, I decide it’s finally time to catch up with some friends for a little R’n’R.
Challenges and accomplishments in your week
There is a lot of politics involved in managing a festival. You need to keep suppliers and stakeholders on side while also ensuring that the vision you have for your event stays true and on course. This is actually often the cause of most challenges and accomplishments! This week I was thrilled to see our merchandise appear with finalised artwork that truly represents GMF, to see what will be for sale at our event and make its way into the world. I also struggle to solidify the line between personal time and work time. My greatest challenge has been to not answer emails right before going to bed!
Highlights of the week (pros of the job)
Leading and managing our team is one of my favourite things, especially when getting to lead people who are learning and growing in their role. Helping our artist liaison navigate through handling competing priorities and views (and seeing her get a great result) was definitely a win for me!
Lowlights of the week (cons of the job)
Time management! Having two jobs means that I need to be across how I spend my time and be clear on what I’m working on when.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field
This is a very rewarding, very demanding role. There are some skills you need to help you along the way including strong organisation and project management abilities, the talent to see small tasks in the context of the big picture and strong people management skills. But most of all you need to have a very well defined sense of self. It is very easy to get caught up in the passionate debates and negotiations that happen in the music industry and to lose who you are in the midst of it all. But if you know why you are doing what you’re doing and what you stand for, it helps to give you something to come back to.
If you enjoyed this Week in the Life of Carly Flecknoe, you can check out more here!
Grab tickets for Grampians Music Festival here!