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  • Writer's pictureKayJay McDonald-Ferguson

Big Team Insight Day

Through Babbasa I had the opportunity to attend an insight day with Team Love's sister company Big Team CIC (community interest company). The CIC was created to help open doors for young people from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the festivals, events & creative industries.

young people watching a presentation

On the day we had a session delivered on HR (Human Resources). It was mentioned that it is important when starting a job to ask for the company policies. One point from that session that stood out for me was the mention of well-being breaks. In the past few years, these types of breaks have been given more attention due to the recognition of the importance of mental health. A report by Personnel Today found that almost half of UK workers are ‘running on empty'. I believe it is important to take into account the well-being and mental health of your employees and that is what Big Team is doing. They not only have a quiet area in the office to accommodate a diverse working environment, but they have also introduced a tent at their festivals where employees can take breaks during the event.

whiteboard with a list of festival roles

As a group, we explored the various roles within the festival and events industry, from an Art Liaison to the Site Manager. During the different sessions with the different team members, we gained a better understanding of the roles and skills required.

It was interesting to find out how a person's role evolves on the day of an event or festival. Before all the festivals (off-season), the Marketing Team deals with sharing the line-up and generating content to promote ticket sales. Then on the day, the team has the responsibility of being a direct communication link between the customers and all departments. Customers on the day of a festival may make contact through the social media accounts and the Marketing Team will have to communicate the query to the correct department. There may be questions about ticket viewing or accessibility. One way the team tries to be ahead of the curve on event day is by predicting problems customers might face and then sharing content around FAO (frequently asked questions).

When it was time for the Q and A section, I asked the question - What motivates you to do your job? Here are some of the responses:

"The ticket sales...seeing the numbers go up."
"The collective joy and sense of community you see on the festival day."
"The end result...being present at the festival and seeing the human is a primal need in humans."

pavilion made from salvaged timber and mycelium

I was particularly inspired by our talk on sustainability from the team's Sustainability Social Cohesion Coordinator. Before the festivals, it is their role to conduct research and compile data into spreadsheets. Then on the day, their role becomes more people-focused. With a team of volunteers, the Coordinator conducts interviews with the public, businesses, and artists to gain more qualitative data. That can be actionable by the team.

I was excited to learn more about the creativity and innovation that has been happening within the sustainability sector at festivals. In 2023 Silver Hayes’ Team Love led a project to explore new materials that challenged the industry's over-reliance on polystyrene foam. The outcome was designed by Simon Carroll from Temple Design Studio, in association with Big Team CIC, Glastonbury Festival, and manufacturer, Biohm & Grown Bio. The project showcased the power of biomaterial in the creative industries, through the creation of a pavilion made from salvaged timber and mycelium (mushroom roots). Festivals are a great way to test new sustainability initiatives as they can be viewed as mini-cities.

Overall, this opportunity was inspiring. I learned more about the industry and what it has to offer. It was great to see the range of diversity within the team, I felt represented. A person's journey in the creative industry isn't always going to be a straight line. It is important to gain experience in different fields, that way you can find out for yourself where you fit. You have to in the end enjoy the job you are in.

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