*This post is in collaboration with Teesside University*
You know when you get asked what it is that you do? Like, as a job? Where you fit in, in the career world? Are you a Butcher? A Baker? Or a Candle Stick Maker? To be honest, I don’t have the answer.
My most recent role was heading up the main stage at Teesside University for this year’s Twisterella Festival. An all-day event, held annually over 5 main stages and 6 pop up’s, including the big lad, The Students’ Union on campus at Teesside University. I found myself Twisterellaing at Teesside University. The very university that I graduated from in 2009.
I want to tell you folks a few home truths. I had a bit of an identity struggle transitioning from Tea Lady to well, not being a Tea Lady, so answering this type of question throws me. It makes me overcompensate and I start jabbering on and going off on a tangent so that I spin the actual question on its head. The only way I can describe what I do is that I kind of do things I like, things that make me happy, but also things that help to pay the bills. I am a bar owner, a freelancer of the social media, a food photographer, a tour manager and a stage manager. I have such an odd mix of ‘things I do’. Does this fill me with panic? Will I always be searching to find something within me to go and find a ‘proper’ job? Heck yes! We all know what pint pulling consists of. We all live in a world of social media. And food photography is just what it says on the tin. Tour managing and stage managing is something I haven’t really delved into and shared over here on the web. It consists of a lot of driving, a lot of loading in and out, a truckload of service stations and making sure things run bang on time.
My tour life began a few years ago. It was a Spring May day and my pals Cattle and Cane needed a driver. One tour turned into two, two turned into three and three into me blasting out a month-long European tour managing the Waterboys support act. Sophie Morgan. Women in Music / Girls in Music / Lasses in Music is something that actually does happen! Is it easy? No! But every job has its challenges right? For me, music has been a MASSIVE part of my life. Not just listening to it but promoting it, repping it, booking it and hosting it. I am more of a behind the scenes kind of gal.
After a good 15 years of carving my way (and growing out of that ‘groupie’ faze), I was asked to be a part of the Twisterella Team. It started by carting around drumkits in the rain, to hosting the festival’s conference to stage managing the main stage at Teesside Uni. Getting those bands on and off and fed and watered isn’t an easy job when you have a tight schedule, let me tell you. But being able to host these lovelies at The Students’ Union at Teesside Uni was an honour. The SU is on Southfield Road, smack bang in the centre of campus and includes The Hub, which is one of the biggest venues in Middlesbrough holding up to 1,000 gig-goers.
From Calvin Harris and Example, to being awarded MTV’s Pimp My Summertime Ball, this town, my little home town, has a venue that is well and truly in demand. There are other great spaces in the SU, including the main bar that Twisterella use for their flagship stage. The SU is in a fantastic location right on campus with a venue manager who shares the Twisterella vision and ethos. What more could you really ask for and support?
So what is Twisterella? Twisterella is a mulit-venue music festival showcasing the brightest emerging national and international talent. A short walk from the bus station and train station this is an October day you do not want to miss. They recently won an Independent Festival Award for their ‘forward-thinking bookings’, which is no surprise given the likes of Sam Fender, Fickle Friends, Dream Wife, Clean Cut Kid, Fatherson, Red Rum Club, Cattle & Cane, PINS, Vistas, Bloxx, Boy Azooga, The Snuts, Black Honey and many more have Twisted their Ellas in recent times.
My day starts off with a Twisterella Team meeting, getting our stage packs and details of the day ahead. You know when I said lasses in music that does happen? Well, more than half of the Twisterella team on the day are absolute girl bosses! We pick up our riders and prep the venue, check on your sound, lighting, and the wider team so you are all ready to roll as soon as the first band arrives. We then wait for the madness to begin. With some bands touring and travelling from all corners of the world, timing is something you need to keep on top of. You don’t want to be THAT stage that runs over now do you? Once all bands have played and been paid, and you have smashed stage times out the bag, you can head over to the after-party for a sit down and few cheese and crackers.
I love my town and everything it has to offer. I am proud of where I am from. I am proud of where I studied and I am proud to be a part of the emerging Teesside music scene. Teesside Uni has stepped right up to the plate and filled it in the live entertainment world. With an absolute beaut of a venue, you really need to take a peek and see what it has to offer.
Twisterella Photo Credits & Photography // Lauren Close & Diana Da Silva