For the past ten years, Melbourne has been blessed with the incredible hard work and creativity Elise Peyronnet has injected into the local scene via Melbourne Music Week – the city’s most iconic celebration of music and the music industry. Working as the festival director for the entire of the event’s ten year span, Elise has an incredibly in depth understanding and range of experiences relating to the field.
Originally from France and working in the Parisian music industry with Rapp France and independent label UWe, Elise discovered Melbourne while on holiday and was captivated, eventually making the big move over. Ever since, she’s contributed an incredible amount of energy and creativity into the local music industry, and we’re so grateful for it. Read on for an insight into Elise’s working week below…
A job description in your own words
I am the Festival Director of Melbourne Music Week (MMW), a 10-day music event owned and produced by the City of Melbourne. I have been in the job since the beginning (lucky me!), managing and growing the event since its inception 10 years ago. Together with the team we have programmed over 2,500 individual acts across 1,100 events, partnering with a wide range of independent local promoters, venues, labels and businesses. MMW is not just another music festival. MMW exists to support the contemporary music industry, raise awareness of the diversity of music in Melbourne and drive visitation and direct economy uplift to the city. My team and I work hand in hand with the music industry and cultural and Government institutions to create a unique program that resonates with the people of Melbourne.
Dreaming of creating your own festival one day? Check out our course Producing Your Own Events here.
A brief daily journal over a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Mondays and Tuesdays are mostly filled by one-on-one meetings with my team. I have a team of six to program and produce MMW, so that makes a lot of catch ups! We plan the week ahead, discuss the key priorities and unresolved issues. On Tuesdays we have a Project Working Group meeting with all the teams including Marketing and Commercial where we update each other on our respective areas and we go through a WIP.
Wednesdays are for our Hub production meetings. This year given that we are building the venue Kubik from scratch in Alexandra Gardens, there are a lot of conversations around the logistics of bringing everything on site – the water tanks that make up the structure of Kubik and that will be assembled on site, AV/lighting, staging, toilets, fencing, our offices, etc.
Thursdays are usually taken by the other part of my job where I wear more of my “Council hat”. As part of City of Melbourne’s Events Melbourne leadership team, I sometimes attend half-day planning days to discuss resourcing, Branch-wide initiatives, etc.
Fridays are my most loved and hated days of the week! It’s the day when I work from home, and it is hectic! I have two small kids (the youngest stays with me on that day) and I am juggling emails, phone calls, house chores and trips to the playground. I love the fact that I can have one day to spend with the kids and I feel really lucky that City of Melbourne encourages work flexibility, and at the same time it is the busiest and most stressful day of the week as I try to be everything to everyone – to my team and my kids!
And amongst all of this I make sure I have at least two coffee dates with externals (agent, promoter, venue, etc.) per week and try to fit lunchtime gym sessions into this already super busy schedule.
You’ve missed the cut off to play at Melbourne Music Week this year, but get ready for 2020 by checking out our course How to Apply for Festivals now.
Challenges and accomplishments in your week
Working in events means that you need to be flexible and expect things not to go according to the plan. All the time. So the main challenges are when something falls through at the last minute – an artist, a venue, the full Hub! – and you need to find a quick back up plan with the team which is equally challenging but also half of the thrill.
No matter how organised your are, something will always come up when planning an event. Read our article, 6 Real World Tips to Successfully Start Your Own Music Festival to get a head start.
Highlights of the week (pros of the job)
Definitely putting the program together, this is what I enjoy the most. I love writing down my wish list of artists, programming concepts and venues at the beginning of the year, putting together really big ideas and making them happen is the best feeling. MMW is renowned for reinventing the creative use of public spaces and securing Melbourne landmarks like State Library Victoria, ACMI, Melbourne University or St Paul’s Cathedral as temporary venues for MMW is a real achievement. Equally seeing MMW come to life during the week is so special, meeting the artists that you’ve booked and seeing them perform is magical and reminds me every time why I love this job so much.
Lowlights of the week (cons of the job)
Hard to say because this job really encompasses all of my passions and I love what I do so much, but I guess the cons of my job come from the elements that are out of my control. Organisational decisions that impact MMW, a show that is not selling well whilst we all feel that we’ve done everything we could to support the artist or the event partner.
Words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field
Have stamina and be cold headed under pressure.
Thrive on the unexpected.
Have a love for team work.
Guess what? Melbourne Music Week is just around the corner, running from the 14th of November until the 23rd. Don’t miss out on witnessing Elise’s amazing work in action – find out more information about the event’s acts, locations and timetables here.