Katie MacDonald

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What do you work as?
I work as a Promoter Rep for DF Concerts. I also do one-off events as a Production Manager and I manage Artist Liaison for TRNSMT Festival.

What does that involve?
The easiest way to describe it is that I make concerts and events happen within the expectations of the artist, the limits of the venue, and the budgets agreed between the promoter and the artist agent.

I book crew, riggers, staging, staffing, PA, lighting, security, plant etc. I also look after risk assessments and health & safety for the shows I'm working on. I'm the middle (wo)man between the venue and the artist. Arranging all the aspects that will make their show work in that venue... if that makes sense.

How did you get into it?
Well I've always loved music. But when I was at school I wanted to join the police and become a detective (I have a slight obsession with true crime). I had a place at uni to study criminology. But my dad is a fairly successful musician and took me on tour with his band for the summer after I left high school. I helped selling merch and he was trying to do me a favour as it was a fairly easy job and meant I could save money for uni and do a bit of travelling around Europe. When I was on that tour though I started helping out the tour manager with day to day tasks. I really loved it! By the end of that tour I'd cancelled my uni place and started looking at music management courses instead. I moved down to London (there were no music courses outside of London at that time) and spent every holiday from uni on the road doing merch and production roles.

I also made loads of contacts in that job and got recommended for work with a promoter in England which then led to me going on tour to the US with The Australian Pink Floyd Show. I was working as a merchandiser and production assistant and they tour for nine months a year so it was really full on. During our second trip over to America the tour manager left and I was given his job. So at the age of 22, I was tour managing this huge arena show around America and Europe. I worked with them for four years in total, then did various other tours with different bands before starting with DF in 2012.

Why do you like working for DF and in live music generally?
Because I love live music and I always have. I love the fact that every day is different, I don't have to dress formally or do a 9-5. Some days are 17 hours long or more. But then I also get random days off in the middle of the week when everyone else is working. I like the variety of different acts I get to work with. I'm always discovering new bands through that. And once in a while I'll get to work with a band or artist that I really like. I'm not stuck in the same office every day. And nothing beats that feeling when the headliner goes on stage and the crowd are cheering and you know that you've helped make that happen. The other thing I really love is when an artist or a tour manager thanks you for your help - it seems tiny but it means a huge amount to my job satisfaction. I always make sure I thank local crew and venue staff.

What are your top tips for someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard. Be friendly, approachable, enthusiastic and helpful. Use any opportunity you can get to learn. Be prepared to work for little or no money at first. Go to gigs. Offer to help young / new bands. Never party with the artist you're working with! haha. Seriously though, almost every job I've got is through a recommendation so it's important to be professional all the time. Also, never bullshit or lie - you'll always get found out.

Is there a standout event/show that you’ve worked on?
One Direction at Murrayfield Stadium was cool because it was the biggest single selling show in Scotland. I did a really tiny role on that gig but it was brilliant to watch it all come together. I loved repping Drake and Bruno Mars shows as there was a real excitement with those because of the level of celebrity attached to them. Repping The 1975 at The Hydro was fun because I've done every single one of their Scottish shows...and it had only been four years since they'd done King Tuts. I love every single show I rep for George Ezra and Deacon Blue - some of the nicest people in the business (there are others of course - they just stand out particularly). Personally though - in one of my touring jobs - Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Above&Beyond in 2016. It was part of an amazing World tour I did with them. There were 18,000 people there and was a real "pinch me" moment. That's where that photo was taken.

What are you listening to at the moment?
It changes on my mood and what I'm doing. With this sunny weather I just want to listen to dreamy indie folk and old 70s soul music. I just downloaded the new Arctic Monkeys album. Also enjoying the new records from... Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, First Aid Kid, Phoebe Bridgers, Blossoms, The Weeknd.

BUT, at heart I'm stuck well and truly in the past. Pretty much every day of my life I listen to The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac, Runrig & Ryan Adams. They're my favourite bands forever.

If you could work with one band/artist (for the first time or again), who would it be?
The Rolling Stones & Bruce Springsteen. Both would be for the first time. If I met either I would try and be cool - but be freaking out inside!

 

Samuel Sparrow