What it's like to work at a music festival

What it's like to work at a music festival

Journalism students were given the opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in broadcasting at the BBC 6 Music Festival. We caught up with Reanna Smith to find out what it was like.

BBC 6 Music Festival

The 6 Music Festival came to Liverpool for the first time this year, bringing some of the hottest acts including Hot Chip, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Little Smiz and The Coral to the city.

When Reanna Smith found out there was an opportunity to work alongside BBC presenters such as Lauren Laverne, Cerys Matthews and Steve Lamacq at the festival, she jumped at the chance to take part. She submitted a radio package about the Liverpool music scene along with a blog and social media content to show her skill set to the shortlisting panel at 6 Music. The production team were impressed with her submission and selected her, along with three other LJMU journalism students, to work at the live event. 

Here's how it turned out for Reanna.

What did you get to do at the festival?

“The first day I was based with the sound team, who record all the live music for broadcast as its happening as well as for the shows during the week. I was monitoring the sound for bad language and any issues with sound. The following days I worked across all three of the venues with the Music News Team, I shadowed presenters and sat in on their interviews with bands and musicians. I also went into the crowds to get vox pops about their experience at the festival to be used on Radio 6 Music the following mornings. We had full access to all areas of the venues, so we were also able to see how every part of the production team worked including the social media team, the set-up of all the equipment, etc.”

Journalism students working at 6 Music Festival

Journalism students at BBC Radio 6 Music Festival. L-R: Tom Cameron, Reanna Smith, Kathi Liesenfeld and Maelle Fontaine.

Did you learn any new skills?

“I learnt a lot. I’d never done anything like it before so it was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into it all, it’s indescribable really. I’ve picked up some good interview techniques by sitting in on interviews and speaking with the bands. I learnt how best to make people comfortable in an interview and carry it out so that it’s relaxing while remaining interesting to the audience. It has increased my confidence as I felt like a part of the team.”

Did you get to see any performances?

“Yeah, I got to see loads. The crowd really enjoyed the whole weekend, so it was a really cool atmosphere. The first night I watched Bodega who were really energetic and fun and then I saw Anna Calvi, she was very impressive and had an incredible range that was amazing to hear. Then throughout the rest of the weekend I saw acts such as The Coral, Clinic, Fontaine DC and BC Camplight. They were all really good and it was nice that each was so unique. I enjoyed a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have normally been particularly interested in. It also made it really special that in most cases I’d just been in an interview with these bands and got to know a bit about them personally before watching them perform.”

BBC 6 Music Festival

How will this work experience help your career?

“It’s given me much more of an insight into how radio broadcasting works and the number of roles behind it, so it was really useful. The BBC are a really reputable corporation so to now have the contacts of some of their top producers and presenters is very helpful and I’m sure will come in use in the future. It’s a great thing to put on my CV and will give me an edge when applying for graduate jobs.”

"I’m delighted that BBC 6 Music have recognised some of the incredible talent we have here at LJMU. Working at the festival alongside some of the biggest names in the music and broadcasting industry was a fantastic opportunity for the four students. They all worked incredibly hard and helped produce some great content for the station and its social media channels. I’m very proud of them all."
– Polly Sharpe, journalism lecturer, LJMU.

BBC 6 Music Festival

"It was incredibly important for us to ensure we could work alongside journalism students in Liverpool. We recognise the amount of young talent there is in the city and we were really excited that we were able to harness some of that. We're delighted to have had LJMU on board."
– Julie Cullen, Commissioning Executive at BBC 6 Music, who helped shortlist the students.

Interested in studying journalism? Take a look the courses on offer at LJMU.


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