As I sit in the trenches of yet another on-site media centre, surrounded by towers of press packs, media schedules and clippings, amid discarded coffee cups and granola bars I take a moment to reflect on the mechanics of Festival living – the craziness of 16 hour days, the adrenalin highs and lows of running a red carpet, the unpredictability of media management and the desperation involved in artist liaison management.
In my 3 years I have managed the P&P (press & publicity) office for 6 Festivals, 3 of which have been in the past 5 months. I can truly say that Festival PR takes on a world of its own – when you are running multiple press junkets, a press conference, a photo call and a red carpet in a single day structure is key but, and more importantly, flexibility is even more crucial. Murphy’s Law has a funny way of rearing its head at the worst possible time and adaptability to these scenarios is what your team is truly measured on.
It sounds clichéd but a cohesive team is vital for success. There is nothing that breaks down hierarchical barriers more than a succession of 16 hour days and the emotional highs and lows of an unpredictable day on-site. The true meaning of team spirit shines through – everyone has each other’s back, spurs each other on and is genuinely concerned for each other’s well-being, and sanity!
My advice – if you ever get the opportunity to work on a Festival, take it. It will be long hours and stressful situations but the best hand-on learning experience you can ever get; from reactive media engagement, FAM trip facilitation and artist management liaison to managing press junkets, running red carpets and handling opening ceremonies – an incredible learning environment.
Once the curtain falls and the exhaustion passes you won’t be able to wait for your next Festival experience and if you don’t believe me just take a look at our fantastic on-site video from Dubai International Film Festival…