Simon Skelt, event manager, Kilimanjaro Live, gives his tips to the top in his first Access column…
In October 2013 I went for a job interview at Kilimanjaro Live to be a Promoter’s Assistant. Fortunately, I didn’t get the job. If I had the last few years would have been completely different. Following that interview I was asked if I wanted to gain some experience at Vans Warped Tour and I jumped at the opportunity.
I was then asked to come back for the summer as a production assistant. Nearly six years later and I’m still here! I’m now an event manager working on large-scale green field and stadium shows, including the highest grossing tour of all time. I’ve been inducted in to the AAA Next Generation 2018 and now I’ve been asked to write a monthly column for AAA. What a mad few years.
I thought I’d start my monthly column by giving the 30 Under 30 (Next Generation) class of 2023 some tips, as I could have really used a few helpful hints when I started out in this crazy industry. These tips may sound obvious but that’s because they work.
One of my first questions was ‘what’s heras?’ which seems comical now but the point is you should never be afraid to ask if you’re unsure on anything, whether it’s terminology, clarification of the task at hand or, as in my case, fencing. Asking and getting it right will always be better than guessing and getting it wrong.
Be an earwig and listen in to any conversation regarding work as you’ll learn a lot from doing so. Our office is small and open plan so I’ve had the bonus of being able to listen in on promoter, marketing and ticketing conversations and this definitely helped my understanding of how those departments work.
The hours of work are often ridiculously long with a million and one challenges to face but staying positive not only helps your mental wellbeing but benefits those working around you and keeps up morale.
Be proactive and say ‘yes’
If someone needs assistance with a job you aren’t familiar with, put yourself forward. If you’re asked to work a weekend when you already have plans, say yes. You’ll learn a lot from being proactive and it will help accelerate your career if you’re willing to put in the work at the beginning.
Find a mentor
This isn’t something that can be dictated but the best thing you can do is find someone to learn from. I have been incredibly lucky to have Zac Fox as my mentor for the past 5 years and if you find yourself with a boss half as good as her, you’ll be laughing. Zac has taught me pretty much everything I know and I wouldn’t be where I am now without her – quite literally as she is also head of HR. If you find a mentor be sure to listen and learn as much as you can from them. They are in that job role for a reason and you’ve won the golden ticket being able to work with them.