Festival Experience

Peats Ridge Festival

Peats Ridge Music and Arts Festival was a 3-day camping festival with a focus on sustainability (attendance approx 10,000) and Winner of the International Greener Festival Award (2011)

Career Journey

Contracted as an Assistant Event Coordinator by Peats Ridge Festival, my skill-set, positive attitude and timeline quickly led to the expansion of my role

I was entrusted to manage the Festival Director’s incoming communications, answer stakeholder questions and act as a go-to-person for festival information between staff, general public and suppliers.

When the Festival’s General Workshops manager dropped out. I was also tasked with programming and managing the General Workshops area from scratch with a one-month lead-time. A role I continued for six subsequent festivals, and for one year, the Eco Living Workshops areas.

Crisis Management

Unfortunately, one year we had a cancellation due to bad weather. One week before the festival, a king tide and ground water flooding proved to be too much of a safety risk to hold the event.

I found out the news by accident when the insurer divulged the cancellation to an artist. I immediately went to the Festival Director – aside from the insurer, only he and the general manager knew.

From then on, I was privy to the PR and communications plan while operating as ‘business as usual’ until an official announcement. This was especially difficult as staff and volunteers continued to work.

Dealing with stakeholder enquiries was a difficult task, especially with angry food vendors who had purchased perishables and a disappointed public – some of whom were arriving from out of state and had already bought flights. The most difficult was dealing with the internal moral of a hard working, disapointed team.

I learned that the announcement process has to be well thought out to avoid chaos and how crucial it is to look after the team.

  Experience

  • IT and systems maintenance
  • On-boarding volunteers
  • Upkeep of the festival website
  • Producing the frequently asked questions web page
  • Editing artist biographies to set word limit
  • Editing images
  • Engaging festival goers on social media and the festival forum
  • Responding to third party, public, artist and team enquiries – escalating, or investigating
  • Setting the agenda, scheduling and producing action points for weekly staff meetings
  • Organising on-site signage from reclaimed materials
  • Sponsorship relationships and requests for additional funds and materials
  • High level of confidentiality – necessary when the festival was cancelled one year
  • Crisis management – unique experience of festival cancellation

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