Working as a festival promoter

 17 April 2012

Chris Greenwood spoke about his career path from DJ to club promoter to marketing and running festivals.

Chris was marketing and music director for Cantaloupe Group, and marketing director at the Big Chill festival until 2009. He currently runs his own festival, Stop Making Sense in Croatia, and his own venue Bedroom Bar in London.

"My role is essentially music content and the marketing and press. So getting bums on seats, people through the door, in a nutshell.

"But also making sure they come back and that they enjoy themselves and tell all their friends."

From DJ to venue manager

"Personally, I'm just a frustrated musician. Then I realised I was quite good at the business side of it."

"I started off DJing, and as a musician. I soon realised that I wasn't going to be a great musician and I really enjoyed DJing.

"I got the opportunity to go to New York and play in the mid-80s. I went to university, left university, went back to America, got involved in the music scene out there in New York, came back, ran parties, DJed, started programming parties for other people.

"I ended up running venues for other people, setting up venues, and eventually did my own venue. And out of that venue, it grew into a group and here I am."

The job of marketing a festival

"On a day-to-day basis, my work involves five or six different projects ongoing. I try to delegate as much as possible, to try and remember my job is to direct rather than to manage.

"So I'll be dealing with the marketing campaign for the festival, making decisions on what adverts to go out, go and talk to my designer, make sure we're on schedule.

"I also talk to my accountant about cashflow and when we can spend and do different things and trying to time things properly.

"I'll also talk to some of the managers at the venues, see how they're getting on. I tend to move around and try and give everyone a bit of my time.

"I also end up writing quite a lot of proposals, so there's quite a lot of time just on the computer, writing."

Turning challenges into success

The Big Chill Festival has been running since 1994. "Personally, I'm just a frustrated musician. I wish I was a brilliant musician.

"You've got to just keep pushing your stuff, and keep sticking, be true, not keep flitting and changing."

"I realised I was quite good at the business side. So I naturally went from musician to DJ to club programmer to working for other people to doing my own thing.

Advice for working in festival promotion

"To succeed you need a lot of luck. There's no doubt about it. And the thing is, you've got to be out there, you've got to be in the right place at the right time.

"You've got to just keep pushing your stuff, and keep sticking, be true, not keep flitting and changing.

"You need to be determined, and you need to believe in yourself, which is not always easy, and none of us always do.

"But you've got to try, because if you believe in yourself, then people will believe in you."

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