What is your job title?
I am the Booking and Event Production Manager at ArtsRiot.
Describe a typical day/shift at ArtsRiot. (Is there such a thing as a typical day?)
Each day is different! I usually have meetings in the morning and throughout the day with sponsors, other managers at ArtsRiot, and potential performers I am interested in booking. ArtsRiot is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but I tend to work for a few hours on those days so I can stay up to date on emails. I am always actively booking throughout the week, and Thursdays through Sundays I am running production operations for the events! This usually means setting up the stage with equipment the band/performer will need, making sure all equipment is functioning properly, setting up hospitality, and communicating with staff what the schedule for the night is. Sometimes I am running it all – sound, lights, and hospitality for the artists so my nights can be very busy!
What has been the biggest challenge at your job so far? How did you respond?
The biggest challenge has been entering my field of study and working in the entertainment industry during the pandemic. I was lucky enough to be an intern at both ArtsRiot and Higher Ground pre-pandemic, so I knew a bit about how production and sound/lighting operations looked at ArtsRiot beforehand.
The hardest part was entering the industry with not a whole lot of experience, and being responsible for programming a 250 cap venue! As of now, I am the only member of the booking/production team (besides our wonderful sound tech who comes in to run sound when we need him) so I have a lot of responsibility. ArtsRiot was sold to a new owner during the pandemic, and most of the staff there before has now moved on. So for me, this meant I didn't have the person who worked this position before me to train me! Fortunately, mostly everyone at ArtsRiot is new and are very supportive and fun to work with so we are all learning together. I embrace each day as another opportunity to learn and try to get better than I was the day before.
Has your taste in music changed or grown since you began working at ArtsRiot? How?
My music taste has definitely grown! We haven’t had a whole lot of bands coming through recently (we just reopened the venue space September 9th!) but we have been having a bluegrass night on Sundays which I’ve been enjoying! I don’t typically listen to bluegrass so I am happy to be expanding my palate. It's fun music to dance to! My booking predecessor, Paddy, did an awesome job curating music in the space before the pandemic. I am trying to approach it like he would, and bring stuff that is not necessarily the most popular and mainstream, but meaningful, entertaining and fun nonetheless!
Why did you choose to major in Music Technology and Business (MTB)?
I chose MTB because I knew I wanted to work in the music industry, but I knew I didn’t want to be a performance/composition major. Even though I am an active member of the Burlington music scene with my two bands, Father Figuer[AA1] and Lake Waves, I wanted another way to be involved so that I could have a career in music without relying on being a musician. I honestly didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but the MTB major covers so many topics: studio recording, music theory, live sound. It was the best fit for my goal of breaking into the industry. With the knowledge I gained from the MTB major, I felt confident to take a leap and try something new in music and it paid off! Now I am experiencing what it is like to book and produce events, which I never knew I wanted to do until I tried.
You studied abroad – tell us about your experience.
I spent the summer of 2019 studying abroad in Japan! I was there from mid-March until August. I was a Japanese minor and I was really interested in the language and culture. And I know this might come as a surprise, but I’m not interested in anime that much! I really wanted to learn the language and connect with people and experience a different culture than America.
I learned so many things, from taking my first international flights, to how to navigate a foreign country and use their transportation systems, to learning to live and go to school in a new country and community! I also learned that you should never hike in a cotton shirt... I climbed Mt. Fuji during my last week there (Fuji is closed until July because there is still snow at the top until late in the summer!) and I ended up sweating through it as I hiked, and as the sun went down, I got so cold I thought I was going to get frostbite! It is common for people to begin their hike at dusk and trek through the night so that when you get to the summit, you can see the sunrise! It was an amazing experience I will never forget.
I have countless memories from being there. I lived in a very small city called Mishima, about an hour outside Tokyo, and I could see Mt. Fuji from my apartment! I would frequently take walks by the river that went through Mishima. I met some cool people whom I still talk with to this day, and I would love to go back sometime. I highly recommend taking the plunge and studying abroad in a place like Japan where the culture is different than America. I believe that experience made me more confident, independent, and more willing to take risks!
What did you do for your Senior Internship?
My senior semester, I was at ArtsRiot as a sound tech intern. I would go in and shadow the sound engineer throughout the event, learning how to set up mics, wedges, cabling, signal flow, how the board worked, etc. I also was called upon to be event staff sometimes. ArtsRiot hosts events like the Moth and spoken word as well, so the sound tech work is pretty minimal for those shows. I would typically help set up chairs and tables and help with other general production tasks. I learned a ton about the space and about the way the sound and lighting rigs are set up there which really are helpful and applicable to my job there now.
Now, instead of being the intern, I am the person who runs it! My internship was very helpful to my gaining experience in the industry, and I really treated it as another opportunity to make connections with the Burlington art community. I had no plans of leaving Burlington after graduation, so I really wanted to form those relationships that would help my chances of working at a place like ArtsRiot after graduation. And although it wasn’t my senior internship, my time at Higher Ground was also a very valuable experience. I was an intern there my sophomore year because one of my professors invited one of the owners to come speak to our class. I talked to him after the class, expressed my interest in interning there, and made it work!
Did your Music Technology and Business experiences/internship/classes prepare you for this job?
Absolutely! I feel like my studies and internships are the biggest reasons why I got this job. I got the groundwork covered in my studies at UVM and was able to form connections and network with people in the industry locally with my internships. I won’t say that’s all it took and it was a breeze, but I knew that if I kept working hard, I would get where I wanted to go. I didn’t have a clear career vision or path, but I put in effort to try lots of things to see what I liked and was good at.
What advice would you give to new graduates of the MTB program, or someone seeking experience in the field?
My advice would be to be persistent and do the work nobody wants to do! By doing those small tasks, showing interest and being a hard worker, you will be remembered. As a young person entering the field, you have to have a good attitude and be willing to do the small stuff to work your way up to the bigger stuff. I promise, it pays off!
I did not immediately enter my field of study after graduation. In fact, I worked at Burton Snowboards from my sophomore year (2018) all the way until July of 2021! I made connections along the way and paved myself a path, but it is not always as easy as going from A to B. Especially during the pandemic, all jobs in music and entertainment went out the window. I was worried at times I would never get a job in my field, being so young and with no experience.
But I did the work beforehand, and set myself up to be ready when someone needed me. I actually didn’t originally apply for my current position at ArtsRiot, I applied to be the Assistant General Manager! I didn’t get that job, but after talking with the folks at ArtsRiot about my experience at UVM, internships, and student life involvement on campus, I was offered the Booking and Production position! I would have never gotten the job if I hadn’t taken the chance. And even though I didn’t get the job I thought I wanted at the beginning, I got an even better one that fits my interests.
What artists/albums are you listening to right now?
I’ve been very into Glass Beach, The Symposium, Cut Copy, and The Lemon Twigs! I either love everything an artist makes or I don’t listen to them at all. I guess I’ve got a specific type and when I find it, I stick to it!