In celebration of International Women's Day 2022, we're celebrating all of the best and most talented women in the events industry. Be it musicians, comedians, or industry workers who play an integral part in keeping the world of events running smoothly, we thought we'd take the opportunity to speak to women from all corners of the industry. We wanted to find out about their experiences and, most of all, sing their praises!
In the latest of our International Women's Day series, we spoke to Chelsea Bakewell, Marketing Manager at Futuresound Group. Futuresound are one of the UK's biggest concert promoters. As Yorkshire’s largest live music brand, Futuresound has been hosting concerts for over 20 years, and runs events such as Live at Leeds Festival, Live at The Piece Hall, and the biggest headline shows in Leeds in 13 years when Ed Sheeran played 2 nights at Roundhay Park in 2019. Chelsea is a key part of the team that makes all this possible as the Marketing Manager for Futuresound. It's a role she's worked towards for many years, ever since starting out See Tickets many years ago!
Check out what we had to chat about in our International Women's Day interview...
Tell us about your route into the music industry.
I tried to get involved in as many relevant opportunities as I could whilst also studying to go to university to study events management. I actually started working part time at See Tickets when I was at college. While at See I was fortunate to work on site at many large events. While working these events I would try to get to know as many people as I could and volunteer to work at other events. This got me further work on sites at festivals and all added to my work experience! Then once at uni I got myself a job at a venue in Sheffield and worked my way up through a variety of roles. Initially I started at the venue working on the bar. But, eventually I moved through to marketing, box office management and promoter roles all while still studying at uni. While a degree is important, I think work experience and the connections you make in the events industry are vital!
What does your job role entail, day to day?
No two days are the same in my job! I am responsible for overseeing and managing the marketing across all of our events, brands and venues. As Futuresound Group has such a wide portfolio of events and festivals including Slam Dunk Festival and Live at Leeds, as well as producing over 1000 events annually. I find myself working across a variety of tasks and projects, usually simultaneously! This can include planning social media campaigns, organising large out of home advertising campaigns, working with designers and freelancers to create artwork and branding and working with agents and managers to maximise event promotion.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most, and why?
I love seeing everything come together. It’s really rewarding to see the ideas and events we have come to life and to see people enjoying themselves after all of the hard work we put in!
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been a few, it’s hard to narrow them down! My first Slam Dunk Festival last year was a pretty big highlight as this was the largest event that I have worked on and to see it come together, especially during all of the challenges the pandemic threw at us was pretty special. Being responsible in creating and executing the marketing and branding for Live at Leeds In The Park is also up there! This is our brand new outdoor festival from Live at Leeds which will take place in June this year. As this is a new event for us it’s definitely been a highlight for me shaping the festival’s brand and seeing the ideas we have come to life!
During your career, do you personally feel you’ve had to fight any battles because of your gender? How did you overcome it?
I’ve been really lucky to work alongside a lot of strong women in my career who don’t let gender get in the way! Every company I have worked for has had women in high management roles. Futuresound Group alone is a great example of this which I think some people often find surprising. I wouldn’t say I have had to fight any battles as such. But sadly there have been occasions where I've felt I've had to prove myself because I am a woman. Sometimes you do come across people who think they can get away with more when they see an event for example is being managed by a woman. But you just have to stand your ground and show this isn’t the case!
In your time working as a woman in the music and events industry, what have you considered to be your most valuable lesson?
I would say to not let gender get in the way and to not create your own barriers and to just go for something if you want it! Stand up for yourself and have confidence.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to others hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Get involved, gain experience, make connections and support others along the way.
What do you feel that women bring to the industry that men can’t, or haven’t?
I think this is a tough question, because it should really be two way process. But I do think women are often more empathetic and can often offer a support network.
What - if anything - do you think can be done to address the gender imbalance in live comedy, if you believe there is one?
I don’t think people stand for imbalance anymore and there isn’t a space for it. If there is something that isn’t right or you are treated unfairly then speak up. I think it’s a conversation that needs to keep happening by everyone.
Check out all the shows currently on sale from Futuresound Group, including this year's Live at Leeds In The Park!
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