Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a regular short and sharp interview with a music industry figure. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part or recommend someone for inclusion.
This week's Q&A is with James Rice, media manager of Outlook Origins festival, which is scheduled for Tisno, Croatia from July 30 to August 4.
What was your first job in music?
I started back in 2013 with an internship with a London events promoter. We ran a whole host of shows from intimate capacity events supporting rising talent and cult favourites to exclusive sell-out performances in venues such as Alexandra Palace. It was a really small team so it gave me opportunity to get fully stuck in. It meant we managed most of the elements, from ticket set-up and writing press releases, to budget management, promotion and artist liaison. I loved working on the events and getting to experience them after all the hard-work, still to this day, they've been some of my favourite experiences in London.
How long have you been in your current role?
Three years. The festival had just celebrated its ninth year with one of the biggest events to date, including Damian Marley headlining the opening concert. It was my first time working in an office environment this energetic and it made it very easy to get into the swing of things.
What is your favourite thing about working in the live music industry?
There's a real community of people involved that are all extremely passionate, whether it be about the artistry or the production, the partnerships or staying on top of the changing world of media in which we use to promote the events. It's constantly shifting which drives you to stay on-the-ball and up-to-date with trends and technology. I was a little worried initially that working so closely to music would have an impact on how I listen / enjoy music but if anything it's made it much stronger and lead to far greater discoveries. When working on lengthy campaigns, it can be challenging to keep things fresh but with people consistently setting the bar so high and challenging the way we do things, it keeps you alert and inspired.
What is the one thing you would like to change about the business?
One of the biggest challenges we face at the moment comes with connecting organically to our followers/audience. Having spent years as a brand building a network of followers and fans, it's becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with these people directly through digital and social channels – not just due to constantly shifting algorithms and 'paid for' features with services like Facebook but also with a growing marketplace of events, festivals and so on all targeting the same audiences. As a company it's refreshing to find new ways to connect with our audience and come up with a different approach to marketing the festival and working collaboratively with new and established networks.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
To work year-round promoting the events can be a challenging process, however, when the time arrives and the gates open, all that matters is making it the best experience it can be - it's a special thing. To see the hard work come to fruition and to witness the live shows and outstanding DJ sets from the artists you've been shouting about all year makes it all worthwhile.
What's the best gig you’ve ever been to?
There have been so many, for so many different reasons. Church Of Sound have a very special thing going down in Clapton, connecting with some incredibly talented musicians, sound techs and people in general. I also saw standout live shows from Overmono in Corsica last year as well as Leon Vynehall at Earth a while back that really resonated with me, not to mention appearances at the festival itself from Larry Heard, Yak, Skee Mask and many more.