Clara Charlier- My Summer Festival Experience

9th October 2018

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We caught up with 2nd year Music Business student Clara Charlier about her busy summer working behind the scenes at Victorious Festival and Brighton Pride. 

How did you come to get involved behind the scenes at Brighton Pride Festival, 2018?

I got the opportunity to work for Brighton Pride through the Careers team at BIMM. After an additional interview by Pride employees, I was offered an internship working as ‘Volunteer Support’. It was amazing to see how such a massive event gets organised and to be able help make it happen. The internship started at the end of May and mostly dealt with admin work such as emails, spreadsheets and phone calls.

What were your official responsibilities during the festival?

On the Saturday of Pride weekend, I was assigned with handling Volunteer Sign In and managing a group for the Parade. Once on the festival site, I also had to oversee the Volunteer Area until all volunteers were fed and well rested from the Parade. 

For LoveBN1Fest, which took place on the Sunday, I got to work for BIMM directly. I was given the job of Artist Liaison for our BIMM stage. I was responsible for keeping track of time and ensuring that performances run smoothly. This means I had to welcome artists and answer any queries as well as making sure artists arrived on time. 

What were the standout highlights for you? 

An incredible bonus of helping with Pride was that I got to see some of the evening acts once I’d finished my shift. The biggest perk of this was being able to see Nile Rodgers and Chic play! It was a real highlight as somehow most of the core Pride Office team managed to be in the same area. We got to enjoy this incredible performance together as Pride weekend came to an end.

What was the most surreal moment of the weekend for you?

The most surreal moment was seeing Britney Spears bring a spectator on stage and start whipping them during her set! I can certainly say that I never expected to see that in my lifetime.

What key things did you learned from the experience?

I would say that the main lessons I learned from working for Pride and other festivals this summer are adaptability and communication. During festival work, it is essential to be able to think on your feet and adapt to any unexpected situation.

For example, during Victorious Festival, we had extreme weather conditions on the last day which closed down our stage. We managed to make all of our scheduled performances happen as acoustic sets in a nearby stage tent. This worked due to adaptability and good communication with the acts, which had to constantly be kept in the loop on what was going on.

Another example is when Tesco’s delivered the sandwiches Pride provides for its volunteers a mere hour before the end of the Parade on the Saturday. This meant that the site had already been closed off to vehicles and that hundreds of sandwiches had to be transported from one side of Preston Park to the other by staff. We managed to find the right resources to make this delivery happen and volunteers were none the wiser.

How did your course help prepare you for the experience?

The Music Business course has helped me prepare for this experience by teaching me critical thinking and by giving me a better understanding of the live industry. This has helped me feel at ease when entering festival environments and enabled me to know the responsibilities that come with different lines of live work.

Where do see yourself, career-wise, once you’ve completed your course?

I’ve only completed my first year of university and as of yet I’m still unsure what I want to do once I’ve finished my course. What I do know is that it will definitely be something to do with the live industry. Hopefully, it will include many more festivals.

Are you interested in studying Music Business at BIMM? Discover more here.


James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.