Event Execution

Episode 41: Executing High-Stakes Events feat. Nicole Carson

Nicole Carson, Warner Music's Event Production Director, provides insights on managing festivals, conferences, safety measures, budget management, and avoiding crew burnout.

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Key Takeaways:

1. The importance of adaptability: Nicole emphasizes the significance of understanding and adapting our approach when working with different clients and colleagues. This flexibility allows us to provide the best possible experience and support for our team members and customers alike.

2. Mentorship and respect: Nicole emphasizes the value of mentorship for junior positions, opposing belittlement and condescension towards newcomers. Experienced professionals must educate and transform mistreatment, fostering a supportive industry environment.

3. Challenges & similarities in executing festivals and conferences: 

Explore unique challenges in managing musical events: balancing audience and artist experience, enforcing non-negotiable safety measures. Nicole shares insights. Festivals require meticulous planning and coordination, while conferences offer more flexibility in timeframes and crew size.

4. Creating a positive experience for artists and attendees: Nicole stresses the importance of securing A-list artists and creating a positive experience for both artists and attendees. This attention to detail can greatly impact the festival's reputation and overall success.

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Guest Information 🎙️ 

Nicole Carson, Director of Event Production at Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group 


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Intro: Welcome to Corralling the Chaos Podcast, where we talk publicly about the things you're worried about privately. My name is Angela Alea, and I'm your host. This is the event industry podcast for companies and crew where we're gonna dive deep into things like, what does our industry need that it just doesn't have?

[00:00:36] Angela Alea: Welcome back to another episode of Corralling the Chaos. Today I have a very special guest with me, Nicole Carson. From Warner Music Group and Nicole Carson, if you don't know her, you're about to get to know her, is an event professional who has worked in entertainment for almost 20 years. Born and raised in the Bay Area.

[00:00:57] She moved to LA 18 years ago [00:01:00] and immediately started working in the music industry, starting out at record labels, and slowly moving into venues and live events. She has worked on a multitude of large scale productions and produced events within music, sports, live tv, and at many different venues around Southern California.

[00:01:19] Her titles range from being a production manager, tour manager. Festival producer, and currently she acts as the Director of event production at Warner Music Group. She's also passionate about mentorships in our industry and being an advocate for the future generation of event professionals. She's currently a senior mentor at W M G.

[00:01:42] And a mentor. Moderator for a handful of other small nonprofits such as Live Out, live and diversify the stage. Also a fun fact, which we are definitely gonna dive into. Nicole is a opera trained rock singer and has [00:02:00] been a singer since the first grade. She currently performs with a metal band and a rock cover band.

[00:02:06] So true. Well, you know, we wanna, there all, we are absolutely gonna start there. What does it mean to be an opera trained rockstar singer?

[00:02:17] Nicole Carson: Do, it definitely does not make any sense, but I know if you're like, what does this mean? So first of all though, thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be speaking with you.

[00:02:28] I love podcasts. I love speaking about my, my, you know, this crazy world I've been in. Yeah. And just like hearing from other people. I love it. So thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you for joining. Yeah. So my, so. I started singing in the first grade in the choir, and my, dad's side of the family is music.

[00:02:46] They're all music people. My grandfather was like a classically trained pianist. My great-grandmother was an opera singer. You know, I have ballerinas and dancers in my family, so it was really like musical, all sorts of performers. [00:03:00] Yeah. So my, my dad, you know, growing up he, he was a, he's a doctor, but he always knew like, The family had this musical background and I started singing and playing piano when I was so little.

[00:03:11] And he said, oh, maybe there's something here. Right? So I just kept singing throughout like middle school and then high school. And then I got into opera in high school and I started, I was like doing sports and singing. So I would like, I would go from like volleyball practice to like, and two hour opera training after school.

[00:03:31] It was like crazy. You don't hear that.

[00:03:33] Nicole Carson: much. No, it was weird. Yeah. That's awesome. Like I didn't have a social life, you know, like social life. Yeah. Like my social life was like music. Yeah. And then sports. So I just, I started doing opera and I really loved it and I was like really good at it. And the reason I moved to LA was because I got a scholarship at Long Beach State.

[00:03:55] When I first moved here, it was an opera scholarship. So that's what brought [00:04:00] me down here. And then I just kept singing and like, I stayed there for a couple years and I was like, you know what, like, opera's cool, but I wanna sing like rock. I wanna sing like, cuz I I love punk rock. I grew up with listening to, you know, classic rock and punk, rock and metal, and I was like, who's

[00:04:17] Angela Alea: your s band?

[00:04:18] Who's your favorite band right now?

[00:04:20] Nicole Carson: Right now? I mean I, love. I love Iron Maiden right now. I'm like on a kick and I you hard to, I just got done working, I guess working, I was at a festival this past weekend and, you know, food fighters were there and like event Sevenfold was there and all these heavier bands were there.

[00:04:38] So it was like I love so many different bands, but I'm like on a ma I'm on a maid and kick right now. Because he's actually classically trained as well. And a lot of people don't realize like, There's a lot of

[00:04:49] Angela Alea: similarities. I just, there I could query attune. I don't even when you say classically trained, like that's so foreign to me.

[00:04:55] I just, I've always envied people who can carry a note much less, you know, you're [00:05:00] talking about being classically trained and you know, you can do all these different genres. I just, know, don't too worry the world en people share.

[00:05:08] Nicole Carson: I'm gonna share links with you after this is over. Don't be worried.

[00:05:11] That's

[00:05:11] Angela Alea: awesome. That's awesome. Yeah.

[00:05:13] Nicole Carson: But yeah, I mean, I just, now I have a metal band. I actually do a lot of like. Screaming in this band. It's like metal core. So I sing and I do some screaming in it, which people are like, that's scary. And then I have a cover band. We do like pumpkin, grunge, rock, and nineties rock.

[00:05:30] And I've done a lot of singing throughout the last like 20 years. Yeah. And so it's like, but it helps, right? With this conversation. It's like being, somewhat of an artist and then you work with artists, it's like, It's helps you see a whole different side of what you're doing.

[00:05:48] Angela Alea: Yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, what you do is there's more to balance, right?

[00:05:53] Like, I mean, I know you've done corporate, I know you've done festivals, and now you're kind of fo focused on, you know, the music side [00:06:00] of it. And so it's not just entertaining and making sure the attendees have a great experience, you've gotta focus on the artist and what's their experience. So walk us through what is unique.

[00:06:10] About producing a musical event versus the festivals, corporate events, other things that you've done, what makes it unique and different? You know

[00:06:18] Nicole Carson: what it's like I, love the end result of a festival or music. Like anything. With music, it's like music is this universal language, so you get people flying in from all over the world to be in one place.

[00:06:35] With all these different people, and you're smiling and you're laughing and you're crying maybe, and you're head banging, or you're just like listening and you're, it's very emotional. So, like for me, like music is such a powerful tool. So when you get all these people together and you, know, you were part of that experience.

[00:06:57] Yeah. It's beautiful. Yeah. It's like this [00:07:00] beautiful, euphoric experience. Talk to

[00:07:02] Angela Alea: us about how planning for a musical event is different than how teams that you've been on in the past would plan a corporate event. How, does that process look different? Yeah,

[00:07:18] Nicole Carson: so like, even right now, you know with, Warner it's, a lot more of a it's, corporate, you know, so I'm doing town halls and things like that.

[00:07:27] It's just like the, magnitude is, different. Like if I'm doing a festival, You're preparing like half a year or more in advance, and you're doing bids with vendors for staging and crewing and like building this rigging and like working with security and law enforcement. Right? Yeah. It's like, it's so safety is always, important.

[00:07:51] Sure. Always. I don't care what people say. It's, my number one priority is the safety. Of everybody. But when you're working with, PD and [00:08:00] fire departments and, you know, OSHA for compliance in a different scale than I would for a conference or something, it's just, I'm doing this, maybe I can advance within two weeks to a month.

[00:08:13] Okay. Right. Yeah. A conference depending on the client, right? If it's offsite. If it's onsite, am I doing rentals for chairs and tables and gear and bringing in a smaller crew like, You know, festivals, you have multiple front of house operators, lighting designers, you have riggers, you have stage managers.

[00:08:33] I might hire a front of house operator and a lighting designer and a production manager, maybe an A two. For my stuff. So it's just, it's smaller scale, but it's still the same. Yeah. Like it's still the same checklist of things.

[00:08:46] Angela Alea: Yeah. It's just not as big. It's a smaller scale. Yeah. That makes sense.

[00:08:48] Yeah. Well, walk us through your process. When you walk into a venue, it's kind of like your blank slate, right? What kind of information are you taking in? What are you looking for? Like walk [00:09:00] us through. Where your mind goes and what that process looks like. I love

[00:09:04] Nicole Carson: it. I love looking at like blank land and just like knowing it's gonna be something awesome.

[00:09:10] That's like my favorite thing. Cause I do a lot of consulting still with festivals, like still, and like it's, I love it because you walk into a site and it's almost like, okay, if it's a new site, When you do things that you've done for years and years, you kind of know how it's gonna be laid out.

[00:09:25] You don't change anything. It's like, you know, it works and you keep it that way. But if it's a new, say you're like a new festival, or you know, someone brings me in a consult on things and find gaps or like area of opportunity, it's like, okay, here's my layout. I have like a used to a CAD person or someone that like is helping me do AutoCAD or something. Okay. How is this gonna be laid out? I look at things like where the egress and entry like entry, egress, egress point's gonna be. How am I gonna set up an infrastructure, right? So I always start out and I work in, so it's like, how big is [00:10:00] my perimeter? You know, like you'll hear that, right?

[00:10:02] Like your perimeter, so your fence line, where am I gonna be? Like where is my festival footprint? Yeah, Where is the footprint first? And then I kind of start to work into it. Cuz to me, where's my parking lot? Is there gonna be areas for pick up and drop off for like transportation for people and ride share?

[00:10:20] So I look at all that ex the external things for the exterior operations we call it. Right. I know people that are probably gonna nerd out over that. Like, oh, I love these terms because it's so nerd. I love it. Your exter, you your, exterior operations. Right. I was like, how many stages are we gonna have?

[00:10:37] Okay. Well they want three stages. Okay, great. Well, because of the way sound carries. You can't put certain stages in certain areas cuz if they face each other, it's gonna be a, it's like a conflict, right? So you have to consider how are your stages gonna be laid out? And so you see, okay, what space do I have to work with?

[00:10:54] How can I place things? You gotta consider water stations, like water sourcing. If the venue [00:11:00] doesn't have water, how am I gonna provide water? Where are the water lines? Where am I gonna drop power? It's like all these things you're kind of like just thinking through. Yeah. But you have to go kind of one at a time.

[00:11:11] Yeah. It's like, Depending on even how the festival was pitched and what's promised to sponsorship marketing. Who are your vendor's gonna be? So like, you have to make sure you have room to place, you have a sponsor here, you have a sponsor here, and you have activation over here and over here, your back of house.

[00:11:29] Do you have enough air space for your back of house your, artist green rooms, you know, what's your transportation route for artists like, I went to this one site and it was like, how am I gonna move artists from. Over here to over here, it was like impossible. And it says you have to think about those things when you're there.

[00:11:47] It's like, how are we gonna do this? So what do you

[00:11:49] Angela Alea: use to manage the project, build the project, keep yourself organized, check off things that are done? Like what do you what, tools do you [00:12:00] use to kind of manage all of that?

[00:12:02] Nicole Carson: I mean, there's like, you know, with festivals, you know, like Festival Pro, like Airtable, I've used a lot and, these are just things I've used before.

[00:12:09] You know, Airtable. I know lasso, I used for crewing before. Another draft. I like that a lot. People are still using like live spreadsheets. Yeah. Which I've used and like it's not great, you know? Yeah. But it's doable. Right. It's what people know though. It's what people use. Yeah. Yeah. Like I've actually been using, the last few festivals I've, done has been through live documents, like live spreadsheets and Airtable.

[00:12:36] Yep. Airtable is fine. It's just hard when there's so, like, cuz there's so many departments for a festival and you're the one, if you're the one person in charge of every department, it can get really hard. Cause people then do sidebar Airtable links here and here, and then it gets out of control. Yeah.

[00:12:53] Yeah.

[00:12:53] Angela Alea: It's not centralized anymore for one. Yeah, it's

[00:12:56] Nicole Carson: not, and that's the thing, it's like, there's so many [00:13:00] softwares, but I feel like there's not really one. Software that's a universal unified, this is the one we should all use as festival. Or event professionals. Right? Yeah. Festival Pro I like a lot.

[00:13:13] I find myself doing checklists a lot, so I, make checklists for everyone. I do event notes, a lot of event notes for people. So my event notes have deadlines, they have check boxes, they have things. So like, cuz for me, I try and make it simplified for people. Yeah. Because not everyone thinks like me. Right.

[00:13:29] You know, or like you or anybody.

[00:13:30] Angela Alea: It's like, yeah, you can go meet 'em where they are. Right.

[00:13:32] Nicole Carson: Yeah. So if I'm like, okay, security needs this, okay, my production manager needs to fulfill this by this time. I give them checklists and deadlines, and then we do weekly check-ins. I like to do weekly check-ins with all the like leads.

[00:13:46] And say, okay, where are we at? Yeah. Like I go through every department. Yeah. And I say, where is this at? Where is this at? Yeah. Where, you know, and that's like, to me, the best way to do a bigger event is like weekly check-ins with your team.

[00:13:57] Angela Alea: Yeah. Yeah. Are there any, make sure that they're, any, as you [00:14:00] think about all the planning are, there any non-negotiables that you have when it comes to planning?

[00:14:05] Like you'd mentioned safety, which I love, that's near end dear to my heart. I love that. I wish more companies were focused on. The safety of their people and their attendees. And I think sometimes it's, an afterthought. Yeah. But what are the other non-negotiables that you might have?

[00:14:21] Nicole Carson: Yeah, no, safety for sure.

[00:14:24] Satisfaction of your artists and your guests are really important. Like you don't have an event if your client isn't happy and if your guests aren't happy. All that does is create more work for you. If you're getting complaint. Yeah. After complaint. After complaint. So for me, a non-negotiable is like client and guest satisfaction.

[00:14:46] Okay. And employee wellness. I'm a really big advocate for employee wellness. And so, and I, know like when I was like going through all the, podcasted questions, I was like, oh man, this is really hard [00:15:00] because there's so many things. It's like, If my people aren't happy, I'm not happy.

[00:15:05] Angela Alea: Well, things fall apart, right?

[00:15:07] If you don't have a happy crew that's engaged and has a vested interest in the success of the artist, the success of the festival, things begin to

[00:15:15] Nicole Carson: fall apart. Yes. And that reflects on the brand. It reflects on the artists because then the artists don't feel, they feel that people feel it when you're back a house at a big event.

[00:15:27] You're feeling all the energy. Yeah. It doesn't matter if it's the artist or a crew member. Yeah. You know, so I need to make sure my people are happy. I don't want you sleeping two hours a night for a six week, you know, period of time. Yeah. I don't want that. Yeah. Like go cut it off at some point.

[00:15:48] Sleep a little bit. Feel good about your go do meditation. Go do some exercise. Like, it's really hard because. Part of the, what I notice is it's always go, Right. Which is, yes, [00:16:00] it's a very busy business. That doesn't mean you sacrifice taking care of yourself. Yeah. And to me that's a non-negotiable.

[00:16:07] It's like I need to take care of myself and make sure my people are taken care of. Yeah. Because then I don't have a good

[00:16:13] Angela Alea: outcome. Well, you had mentioned that before, you know, when we had asked, you know, what's one of your, biggest frustrations? You know, you talked about like high burnout, right? Low budgets, equal high burnout.

[00:16:24] Yeah. And so how, do we go about educating our clients? On what it really takes, right? Sure, you can do it for a low budget, but it's gonna have implications, right? Yeah. That maybe the, experience isn't the same. Maybe people aren't happy when they're showing up. Maybe the artists, you know, don't have a great experience.

[00:16:43] What, you know, there's so many different things that go along with a low budget. So what do you do to educate your clients on a realistic budget so you don't have a low budget high,

[00:16:53] Nicole Carson: burnout rate? What the problem is too with that is like when you deliver a great product with a shoestring budget, [00:17:00] It's like, oh, they can get it done.

[00:17:03] It's crazy.

[00:17:03] Angela Alea: I say that all the time. Our industry does not help ourselves. We keep doing these incredible, over the top, epic magical experiences. I'm gonna say within the client's budget. It's not, it's just not, somebody eats that, right? It, somebody is paying the price and the delta. And the clients don't know that.

[00:17:28] You know, I think the really good companies are pushing back and saying, look, anything's possible. It's just gonna cost you. Right. You can have option one, two, or three. Here's the different options, you know? Yes. But so many companies are doing our industry a disservice themselves a disservice because they just and, I love it cuz it comes from a great place.

[00:17:48] The intention is so pure cuz you wanna do a good job, but. Don't sell yourself short, you know? And so how do we go about educating clients on what it really [00:18:00] takes?

[00:18:00] Nicole Carson: Yeah. What you said is like yes, So for me, like after every event I do, I always do like an after action review. So I'm always documenting everything.

[00:18:11] Like, what could be better here? How can we improve here? And so like I'll, do a post mort, we call it like a postmortem, right. With your team. So like, okay, everyone take notes. Bring all your notes together. I'm gonna compile one document of everything, and then it's my responsibility to go to like leadership or to go to whoever.

[00:18:34] Right. And like say, Hey, let's talk about this. Because the next time you pitch this festival or this event to that person Because of inflation. Yeah. Because of maybe like low satisfaction from your team. You know, like you're good. Need to just tell Okay. Well. To do this again this year, this is what it's gonna cost.

[00:18:54] How far

[00:18:54] Angela Alea: else do you think these clients' budgets are with what they're asking for? Like what are you typically [00:19:00] seeing, Hey, I need you to do X for Y. What is that Delta typically that you're seeing it's, and what, they should be paying versus what their expectations are.

[00:19:08] Nicole Carson: No, it's fun. I just had this conversation recently actually, because I did work a festival recently that I come in and I do a lot of the artists, Relation side of it.

[00:19:19] And I'm just gonna speak generally, but like I came in and it was like nothing that I had asked for in the advance was done. I didn't have what I needed. I had to go, I had to go steal AstroTurf from the festival site. I had to go take decor from another cause I didn't get, it was so, Low budget, we say.

[00:19:39] Right. I'm like, give me like $50,000. Give me $20,000. Yeah. I will work with whatever I could get. Yeah. You know, like if you just put in that extra 10, 20, 30 grand just for some extra turf, some extra decor, maybe some string lights or just something simple. I'm just talking general. Yeah. Like it makes a difference.

[00:19:59] Yeah. [00:20:00] Cause the artist experience has to be a priority. Yeah. And the aesthetics

[00:20:04] Angela Alea: are important.

[00:20:05] Nicole Carson: Yeah, it's vibe and it's so important. Like if you have an A-list artist, like this was a big artist. I won't say the per, but it was a big artist coming in and if I hadn't have scrambled and worked overnight to make this happen, they would've been like, this is.

[00:20:24] Budget. You know this looks kind of, and then what do I have to say? Yeah. My budget's low. Yeah. Like, no, I'm not gonna Yeah.

[00:20:30] Angela Alea: Do that. Right. Like, you don't

[00:20:31] Nicole Carson: say that. Yes. So for me, it's like putting in that extra, whether it's like 10 grand or maybe it's a 50,000, I don't, you know, whatever it Yeah.

[00:20:38] Whatever it, the missing pieces. Yeah. I understand budget. I do, I manage budgets. I get it. But budget versus the experience. Yeah. And making artists wanna come back because artists talk. Guests talk. Yeah. People talk on social media. They're gonna say that festival kind of was not great. [00:21:00] It wasn't, it didn't feel safe or, yeah. No. I'm an artist talking to some other big artists and you don't wanna do that festival. It just wasn't a good experience. Yeah. It just low budget. That's the last thing you want. Yeah. You know? Oh my God. That like makes me scared. Yeah.

[00:21:14] Angela Alea: To have that. Yeah. No, that makes sense.

[00:21:17] That makes sense. Well, when you think about your 20 years in the industry, what's something that you can think of that's always been done that way, that you think it's time for us to reevaluate?

[00:21:30] Nicole Carson: I remember doing this question and I had to think about it because for me, and I know I wrote this on the thing, it wasn't really a.

[00:21:37] Thing. It's more of like an attitude or like an approach. And like when I started to, now we need to really understand how we are approaching people in the business. Every client is different. Everyone you work with is different. You can't approach people in the same way when it comes to new [00:22:00] junior men, I have a lot of mentees I, mentor and like coordinators, executive assistants.

[00:22:06] PAs, you know, you know, production assistants, interns, we can't treat these people just because they're new and they're young and they don't know what they're doing. You can't like degrade them or condescend them. And I see it all the time when it drives me crazy because how are we helping our future generation with this attitude that's like, well, this is just how it is and this is how the business is, and.

[00:22:33] You know the music industry is a tough business. Like yeah, it is. But it's our job to educate and to change that attitude a little bit. Teach, be kind. Yes. Be kind and teach. And that's why I'm a big advocate for women in entertainment and I'm also an advocate for like trying to educate these young.

[00:22:54] Professionals who are like just starting out, like USC business school. We have a lot of [00:23:00] interns here that come from usc. They're in music business. This is their internship. And you know, I see them all the time and they come to my events here and they're like, this is awesome. They're like, yeah, like if you ever wanna come and just watch how we.

[00:23:12] How we advance things and produce it. Like, let me know, like, oh my God, that's so awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, that's, that means a lot. Yeah. Like you don't have to be an a-hole.

[00:23:21] Angela Alea: Yeah. Well, it like, everyone should remember they started somewhere too. Right? And it's having those people around you that are willing to put their arm around you and say, I got you.

[00:23:32] I'm gonna teach you. That's when it errors and you're gonna make mistakes and it's okay. Yeah. You know? Yeah. And there's not, there's

[00:23:38] Nicole Carson: not enough of that. Not, and that's what it bothered me cuz like I've been treated that way. You know, like I've been in some roles before, like as a manager, like a senior manager level where I'm being treated like I don't know anything and I'm, you know, being micromanaged and it's just like, it's not the, it's not the right approach that [00:24:00] we need to take moving forward.

[00:24:01] And cuz as industry is evolving, technology is evolving. There's a lot going on. Like with live streaming with live events. With physical events, virtual events, we need to teach people what these things mean. Yeah. And be nice about it. Yeah. And not be like, well you don't know anything, so I don't wanna work with you.

[00:24:22] Yeah. Like I, I was just mentoring somebody the other week and they were like, you know, they were like I, was on this tour as a, pa with my first tour ever, and I was just, I had to leave after a couple weeks because I was treated so badly and they were so mean to me. And she's a, it's a female in a male driven camp. Yeah. And she's like, I couldn't take it anymore. I'm like, that is sad. Yeah. That makes me so sad. How do we change

[00:24:49] Angela Alea: that? Yeah. You know, I, we talk about it a lot on this show and. I think we have an opportunity to create a safe landing place. Cuz I mean you, just [00:25:00] mentioned it, right? So many people are going to school to study what we're doing and then they graduate.

[00:25:07] And let's face it, our industry is full of freelance. That's what so much, I mean, it's project based. Gig work, right? And they go learn one thing and then they go to the next and it's gig to gig, right? And which means there's nobody there's no sense of ownership, there's no sense of loyalty, there's no sense of investment of, Hey, I'm gonna invest in these people.

[00:25:28] But I mean, let's face it. Just a couple years ago, we were dealing with 38% of our industry gone. Poof. And we were begging for people to come join. Yep. And now that things are turning let's not forget where we were, you know? Right. Let's create these people. Let's give these people who. Have raised their hand and said, Hey, I think that's a really cool industry and I have something to offer.

[00:25:50] I have something to give. Well, let's welcome them. Let's give them a a, good landing place. A good place to start a career. Not a job. A career, right. [00:26:00] Passion because it's passion for these people. Yes. You don't work the hours. You do. You talked about staying up all night because you were gonna make sure this thing went off well and that you were proud of it because you cared.

[00:26:13] That's not a job, that's a passion. Right. That's like, that's a career. That's something you wanna do. That's not a nine to five job. Collect a paycheck. Yes. And that's why people come to our industry cuz they're passionate about, they're not looking for a nine to five job. Exactly. They wanna be something they wanna create, they wanna make an impact.

[00:26:31] And I just think our industry needs to remember. We need to give these people a good landing place and create a good career where they wanna stay and stop treating 'em like freelancers, you know?

[00:26:43] Nicole Carson: Yeah. I love that you just said that so Well, I like yes. This is not your normal nine to five office job.

[00:26:50] Yeah. Right. You don't go on the road for three know, three, four weeks at a time. Work 18 hours a day, you know, stay up all night. Right. Like [00:27:00] you, you don't do that type of work if you're not passionate about it. Yeah. And you don't love it. And creating, like you said, yeah. Creating that experience that people go, wow, that is awesome.

[00:27:12] You don't, this isn't like that. Exactly. But the problem too is like, it creates some people who are so like, They're still bitter or they've been in it so

[00:27:21] Angela Alea: long, they got a chip on their shoulders. What I always say, like, chip, yeah. They have a chip on their shoulder, but it's

[00:27:25] Nicole Carson: like, then don't, then maybe move on.

[00:27:29] Or don't rub that off on everyone else. Yeah. You know? That's right. It's, just how do, yeah. How do we, and how do we, like, you know, us who we're trying to make an impact with podcasts and like speaking. How can we have an impact on that part of it? Yeah. And like create more of a healthy, welcoming.

[00:27:48] Positive environment for these

[00:27:50] Angela Alea: newer people That's right. To come in, right? That's right. Well, I do, I mean, the more I talk to people I, think we all recognize it's a problem and I [00:28:00] think I mean, I see things changing. I think more and more people are, tired of getting a bad rap. For those that walk around with a chip on their shoulder.

[00:28:08] The people that have been doing this 40 years may, maybe it is time to move on. I don't know. Right. Yeah. But you know, there's also some new people that have chips on their shoulders, you know, but it's so, it's not just indicative of the time you've spent in the industry, but I think more and more people are becoming, Less tolerant of that.

[00:28:24] We had a guest on our show and he called those types of people terrorists. He's like, they're terrorists. They're, hijacking your business. Right? And we all just been to them cuz they're highly technical, they're brilliant, yet they're nasty at the job site. They're not a good at, you know, representation of your brand like, Who cares?

[00:28:44] Get rid of 'em. Who cares how get, get rid of them technically. Yeah. And so I just, you know I, see more and more people willing to go there and have the courage to act on it. And so you know I, do see that changing slowly but surely. For sure. Yeah. You [00:29:00] have to, you have

[00:29:00] Nicole Carson: to say it. Yeah. We can't, like, we can't not bring it up.

[00:29:04] Yeah. Like things like this, you have to just like say it and

[00:29:06] Angela Alea: verbalize it. Yeah.

[00:29:07] Nicole Carson: Call it what it is, because call it I'm very direct. I just call it out. Yeah. For what things are like, you have to call it out like, People's attitudes are not, you know, they suck. They suck sometimes. And when you're on site and you're like, that person is soul sucking, they're energy draining.

[00:29:22] Yeah. And then an artist comes to you for something and they're just being bitter. It's like, and you have to place people where they belong. Right. Like, I have to move. I've had to move people from one post to another sometimes because I'd go to like The, supervisor and say, Hey, that person can't be there.

[00:29:40] Yeah. I had to do that a lot. Yeah. Because they're just not meant to be there. They're like their attitude. Yeah. Or they're not professional. Yeah. Or they just wanna like googley eye over an, artist. It's like, you can't do that. That's not professional. Behavior.

[00:29:54] Angela Alea: Yep. We're getting there. We're getting there.

[00:29:56] As an industry. Well I think so. Yes. [00:30:00] I think so too. Well, I always like to ask my guests before we wrap up one final question then, and that is, what do you hope for our industry? This is a

[00:30:09] Nicole Carson: hard question because there's a lot, right? Yeah. We hope for revolution, we hope for improvement in just like, you know Yeah, like soft.

[00:30:18] I mean, for me it's like softwares. Evolution with technology and evolving with where the industry is going. Like when I say what I hope for, I'm always thinking like, I would love to have, like we talked about, budget process. Like if you're making the same mistakes at every festival, every big event, or every production, and you're not learning from your past notes, your past after actions, your post mors, your, you know, You're just doing the same thing every time.

[00:30:54] How are we evolving? Yeah. How are we becoming a better brand? Like I see it sometimes I, there's this, [00:31:00] there's certain festivals I've done a lot every year, and I'm like, why are we doing the same mistakes every time? Yeah.

[00:31:06] Angela Alea: It's like, rents and repeat. Sorin and

[00:31:07] Nicole Carson: repeat. Yeah. And it's like, it's bothersome.

[00:31:10] It's like we're not doing ourselves a favor. Yeah. So I want, you know, like for me it's like I want us to learn from these things and actually put into action. All of these things that we're trying to, make better, a better experience for people. Live streaming now is a huge thing. I have a lot of companies now come in and do video, you know, video and live streaming for bigger productions.

[00:31:33] It's like, how are we evolving? Are we really doing our due diligence as a, this global un unified? You know, business. To connect artists and fans from Europe, from Asia, from, you know, from like South, America. Are we connect? How are we connecting everybody into one? Yeah. Right. Music festivals, production, it's like, I see it all the time.

[00:31:59] It's [00:32:00] like, well this is being live streamed, but only to certain areas. Yeah. Right. Only to certain people. It's like, why? Yeah. We're missing half of our demographic. Yeah. By not pushing this out. So I feel like we're kind of, we're. With the times, but we're not Right. We're moving slower than we need to be.

[00:32:16] Yeah. On the technology side, especially with Covid, like obviously Covid opened up this whole new world of like, you know, live streaming and virtual events and like I'm still learning a lot about that, part of it too. You know, it's cuz I only came up with visible events, so now that I'm doing more virtual things, it's like this whole new world of like learning about this, but like, are we moving?

[00:32:40] At this, at the right pace. We should be where like technology is growing and how, do we get our

[00:32:45] Angela Alea: clients to evolve at the same speed with what's possible? And

[00:32:48] Nicole Carson: that's it too. It's like, cause that cost money. Yes, that's right. That costs money And that takes time cuz you don't, they don't know. It's our job to educate clients.

[00:32:58] Yeah. They don't know, [00:33:00] like, well, if you pay $50,000 more, you'll get this much more. You'll reach this many more viewers. You can connect with people who watch a show here in California, but maybe people in Europe can be watching it too. You know? But like how do we, pitch that? It's always my thing.

[00:33:19] It's like I, wanna find a, real way that we can just pitch these things, not make the same mistakes over and over. Yeah. Truly listen to ourselves. Like, here's a list of all these things we need to fix. I call them areas of opportunity, right? Stop making the same mistakes at the next one. Yeah.

[00:33:38] Put the money in. Yeah. Put in the resources. Hire a consultant. Yeah. Hire professionals in each of these areas to help you and guide you to create a safer experience, a more well-rounded experience for everybody. Yeah. You know? And like, yeah, this whole like, what do you hope for? She's like, I just. I want us to, I want the industry to evolve, [00:34:00] oddly, should be evolving.

[00:34:01] Like it's just, I feel like we're kind of behind. We

[00:34:04] Angela Alea: are, I feel like we're behind. Completely are, yeah.

[00:34:07] Nicole Carson: Covid did not help

[00:34:09] Angela Alea: when some, I mean, in some ways it did it, it shook up a lot of things. Right. Shook it up. It kind of turned it upside down. And in some ways things are settling back to the way they were, which is not good.

[00:34:20] Sure. And in other ways things are completely different than they were, you know? And so I don't think, I think we're still early on that road of evolution and. Getting our clients to think differently. Hey cuz, because just because you spent, you know, 300,000 on something last year, guess what? Inflation alone, it doesn't cost 300,000 this year, you know?

[00:34:40] Yep. Even more to do less than what you did last year. And I think you less think people have to have the courage to say those things to make strong recommendations to lead their clients, versus I'm gonna take whatever budget they give me and I'm gonna work within that. So. Versus knowing when [00:35:00] to make strong recommendations.

[00:35:01] Right. Because I think our industry forgets because there's such talented people. We just did, I just did a LinkedIn post on this earlier. Everyone is so talented and we're so used to being behind the curtain. We don't do a good job bragging on what we've done. We don't do a good job really explaining.

[00:35:22] The stakes and how high they are and the risk for mishaps and this could happen, and what's the implication of that? We spend so, so few minutes and time with our customers talking about those because we're focused on how are we gonna deliver a great experience within this budget. Rather than, I agree.

[00:35:44] How do we educate them on a more accurate budget, right? Yeah. And push and pull on things like it's our job to keep them from making mistakes. And I think we forget that sometimes cuz we're so focused on creating that. I think it's an opportunity. We don't do a good job bragging. [00:36:00]

[00:36:00] Nicole Carson: No you're right.

[00:36:01] Like I, you, you said something and I was like, oh my gosh. That's like such a good point. Like, I came into a, festival recently where they didn't have. A standard operating procedure. They didn't have a manual for like an E, a P or like just a, manual, like a guide of like process. So I had to like create this whole guide of like, here's an o p for this, here's an SOP for this.

[00:36:24] Like people think about that sometimes. It's like, have an operating manual. Do you have a voice of God? Do you have, you know, like, do you have an evacuation procedure? Like, I'm thinking of all these things and it's like, oh. No. No. Or like, maybe they do, but it's not complete. It's not fully like built out.

[00:36:44] It's like how can you run an event, a big event with things like gaps like this, right? Well, we don't have the money to hire this person, or you know, we don't, those are the things. It's like, okay, yes, this has to change

[00:36:55] Angela Alea: because that will affect, there's that non-negotiable we talked about, right.

[00:36:59] [00:37:00] Non-negotiables. Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Yes. Totally. Well lots of good stuff here. You know, I mean, a couple takeaways that I have from this is Musical events they're, a little bit different, right? You've got not just the audience experience, but you're also managing and balancing that with the artist experience.

[00:37:16] You talked about a lot of non-negotiable safety being a huge part of it. You talked about burnout within the crew, talked about budgets the industry evolving and then my favorite, just a reminder to everybody be kinder to those that are maybe newer to the industry or maybe those that aren't newer.

[00:37:32] Right. It's, you don't pick and choose who you're kind to just. Just be kind. Remember, everyone's choosing to be there. Everyone's tired, everyone's passionate about a great outcome, so maybe extend a little bit more grace. So hopefully that's a takeaway for all of you as well, and I'm super grateful to have you on the show, Nicole, and thank you so much for joining us.

[00:37:52] Yeah,

[00:37:52] Nicole Carson: one team, one dream. I always say it. Love it. One team, one dream, right? We're all in this together. That's right. Doesn't matter [00:38:00] if it's an up and coming artist or an executive of a label or whoever this. Be kind. Listen, and if you can't say yes, provide an alternative. That's my last thing. It's like I always, if I can't say no, it's like, well, that might not be possible, but here's an alternative.

[00:38:17] Always provide another solution.

[00:38:19] Angela Alea: Options are good options. Always good. I love it. Well, thank you again Nicole, and thank you everybody for listening. If you like what you hear, don't forget to hit subscribe, and if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, reach out to us at podcast lasso io. Thanks everybody.

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