Welcome to Behind The Scenes Of Breaking Bands Festival, part 2.

This week’s blog takes a deep dive into what the team does. For a weekend festival to go ahead, there is a lot of planning. Some may think a few months, others may realise it’s an all year round affair. So today we will introduce many of the team members, some of whom go under the radar with what they do.

We operate in as many ways as possible, a flat hierarchy at Breaking Bands because we believe in the community we are growing. We feel that every one of the staff members should have a say in what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for each year’s event and we have regular meetings to gather everyone’s thoughts. Unfortunately, like in any business, there has to be someone making a final decision and covering the financial costs as well as answering to any issues. Therefore we have 4 Directors which are Steve, Jude, Stacey and myself (Jay).

The Directors:
Our roles in the festival are varied but we all have a core skill that we utilise. Steve’s main role is anything stage related. His title is Production Manager. Steve is involved with the stage, lights and sound spec. He will deal with the sound engineers, the companies supplying the stage hire and liaise with the stage managers over the weekend of the event. This role is all year round. Liaising with the bands for their tech sheets so he knows what will be needed for each band and relaying that back to the sound guys so they bring the right equipment for the stage. Steve is also involved with the schedules along with myself to make sure there is sufficient time between sets for change overs.

Jude has varied roles too. Over the festival weekend you will find Jude at the ticket and merch stall, she may also be involved with first aid but for most of the year Jude’s role is with compliance. All the paperwork goes through Jude from insurance to contracts to risk assessments. Jude is also now working with the team on many areas of learning through a new partnership we have for festivals.

Stacey will also be around the ticket and merch stall over the weekend. Throughout the rest of the year Stacey’s involvement comes through advertising and promotion. All those poster updates, the promo videos and images across social media and the website are all designed by Stacey. This saves the festival hundreds in artwork fees and reminds people about the festival all year round.

I am a jack of all trades. I work on the promotion all year round alongside Stacey. We work on statistics, advertising, social media and strategic planning. I am also the business manager for Breaking Bands and with that I deal with the financial side when it comes to spending on all hire equipment, sponsorships and traders. Another role of mine which is the one I love most is booking the bands. The four of us go through this together but it has become more of a role I have taken over to give everyone a bit of time to work on their own roles. With my history of band booking for many festivals and events, my relationships with promoters and bands, it really is the part I look forward to the most.

Next up and in no particular order, let’s meet the team behind the team. Every one of them deserves a medal for the work they do. We have to settle for hugs (or fist bumps these days).

The Stage Crews:
Gin is the stage manager for the marquee stage. His role is to make it happen. A lot goes on behind the curtain and Gin has a great team with him to help get the bands on and off stage on time as well as making sure the equipment is set up correctly for each band. A stage manager is responsible for those all important schedule times which puts a lot of pressure on. Having a team within a team makes this role work smoother and the fans at the front get to see a full set because of it.

Jack is the stage manager for the venue stage, a new role for him this year from drum tech. Jack, like Gin, will be responsible for the running of the stage, making sure those bands are on and off in the time set, liaising with the sound engineer and having his own crew for the stage. Like with Gin, it’s a responsibility that requires precision with only 5 minutes from a band finishing on Jack’s stage, a band starts on Gin’s stage so everyone has to work extremely quickly together under the pressure.

Alongside the stage managers we have the crews including Craig, Steve, AJ and some new members to be announced soon. Their roles are to assist their stage managers with helping get equipment on and off stage, preparing the next band to go on stage and keeping things running.

The Comperes:
A role that needs no introduction (although as comperes, they can do that themselves) is the stage compere. On the venue stage, he has been with us since the beginning is the Dad we never had, the mushy pea man that is Mr Badaxe. It may look like his role is to just introduce the band but he is actually the time keeper. He will get on the stage and get them bands off to give the stage crews their time to clear and prepare for the next band. He is there with information about the next bands, keeping everyone smiling. The stage compere is the glue that binds that stage. We are currently working on a new marquee stage compere at the moment and will have more info soon.

The Ground Crews:
What a job these guys (and gals) do. First on site, last to leave our amazing ground staff to look after the field. James, Lisa & Che head up a team of volunteers to plan the site out for campers making sure to keep the fire lanes free. They guide the cars in, they work the check in desk, check for issues with toilets, rubbish and generally anything out on the fields. James is also responsible for the sound meter checking. They are the team on the ground that go above and beyond. You’ll see them one minute picking up litter, the next minute helping someone put a tent up and then assisting fixing a broken down vehicle. They are extremely versatile in what they do.

The Photography Team:
Headed up by Simon and assisted by Paul, Martyn and Drew we have one of the most professional and organised photo crews of any festival. These guys are first ones at the stage and last ones to bed. Not only taking photos of the bands performing but capturing the crowds indoors and out so that your memories of an amazing weekend don’t ever leave. Something you may not see is that they are constantly editing and uploading the photos over the festival weekend literally while bands are still performing their final songs. These photos are then shared across our social media platforms for folks to tag themselves and share the love.

Security Team:
We have been very lucky having found great security teams over the years. This year we introduce 2 new members in Simon and Mark who are both massive rock and metal fans. They work on major festivals such as Download, Reading & Leeds, Glastonbury to name a few. The role at Breaking Bands of the security team is not to be seen unless they are needed. We want people to enjoy themselves, have a moshpit and party and these guys understand that as festival goers themselves. With the addition of them as permanent members of the team, they can add a great safety feel to the festival without encroaching on your fun.

The Media Team:
Matt is our artist liaison manager. His role includes checking the bands in and making sure the stage managers know they have arrived. Matt will make sure the bands have all the information for where to go, at what time. He liaises with the Press Officer Ra who in turn, liaises with all the media that come to cover the event. Ra will make sure the bands and the press get introduced, help with interview schedules and work around the media tent keeping the press up to date with any late changes too.

Sustainability Officer:
This is a new role headed up by Ali who has attended a number of environmental seminars since we signed up to the Vision 2025 project to cut our carbon footprint by 50% by 2025. Ali assists all teams on helping make all areas of the festival environmentally friendly. From energy to plastic cups it’s a role Ali is very keen on and as such, is helping us all learn a lot about how we can get a carbon neutral festival in the future.

And finally… The Volunteers:
We always pay homage to our amazing volunteers. They are the core of the festival teams and really do make a massive difference. Every festival has a volunteer team who take a few hours a day to help us in areas such as litter picking, checking the toilets, helping the ground staff, working the gate, checking wristbands etc. We have some regulars that like to do it every year and some that want to try it one year just because they have seen how much help other volunteers have done. We really do value the team, whether it’s for a free ticket, experience or they just want to give back to the festival. They mean the world to us.

We are opening the volunteer form very soon for this years festival. Register your interest on the following link https://form.jotform.com/220443041730340

So that’s our teams. So much going on throughout the year means many of us meet up 4-5 times a year to share ideas and work out any issues. Without all these teams working together there would not be a festival.