Nathalie Von Rotz // The Great Escape // Event Manager

What is your role at The Great Escape and how long have you been in the position for?

In 2013, I was working for the Swiss Music Export office, advising and promoting Swiss artists in business expansion and planning events at international music festivals including the incredible The Great Escape. This was the first time I had attended a showcase festival abroad and was bowled over by the energy and array of new artists, something I am really passionate about championing. TGE is this most important and exciting showcase of new music from across the globe and each year it gets bigger and better. It also brings together the world’s music industry.

When I moved to London a year later I saw a job advertised at TGE and immediately applied. After joining The Great Escape team in 2015 as Bookings Assistant, I was quickly promoted to the role of Event Executive a year later where I managed all of The Great Escape’s international and UK based trade partnerships with the most important building blocks of the music industry including Sentric, PRS For Music, Sounds Australia, SESAC, DITTO and the Association of Independent Music (AIM) plus I oversaw the running of The Alternative Escape. In 2019 and in the coming year, TGE’s 15th anniversary, I’m proud to be covering maternity leave as Event Manager.

Tell us a bit about your role, what does your day-to-day entail, what artists do you work with/have worked with?

My day-to-day usually is a mix of things with no two days being the same and it also changes massively depending how close we are to the festival. I oversee around 70 partnerships across TGE, which requires a lot of emailing and communicating, collaboration, developing ideas and executing them and liaising with our production team until the events then come to life at the festival. Those partner activations range from showcases, panels, networking parties, pub take overs etc.

Additionally, now as Event Manager my responsibilities are even broader wider reaching. I oversee the day-to-day management of the event from liaising with and mobilising our production team, our bookings and sponsorships team to fundraising bids, looking at the overall budget and making sure everyone is on track with what they need to be doing, ensuring we hit our deadlines.

A lot of my evenings are dedicated to going to shows. Although this is part of my job, I wouldn’t really consider “working,” as I would do that anyways.

“The best thing about my job is bringing in partnerships that give international artists, who have never been to the UK before, the opportunity to perform in front of a global music industry and audience.”

What is it about music and your role that drives you?

Music has always been a major part of my life. I used to play the piano and guitar when I was younger and started going to gigs in my hometown in Switzerland from a young age. Every year, I’d volunteer for our local world music festival. After helping create unforgettable moments and experiencing the energy between an audience and an artist on stage, I knew I wanted to pursue that as a career.

The best thing about my job is bringing in partnerships that give international artists, who have never been to the UK before, the opportunity to perform in front of a global music industry and audience. I travel a lot and attend numerous international music conferences and get to meet artists from all over the world – it’s an incredible feeling when you see their excitement and determination. It’s amazing that I can help them and be a part of their musical journey too. One of my highlights has been Amyl and The Sniffers who played in 2018 as part of our partnership with Sounds Australia, who have since gained great success, which is so great to see.

Amyl and the Sniffers

What artists would you love/have loved to have worked with? Dead or alive. Why?

We work with so many different emerging artists from all around the globe, which I think makes our festival unlike any other. Being part of each of those individual journeys and seeing those artists grow, who sometimes come back to play TGE as a spotlight show is so rewarding. Idles is a great example of a band who played a tiny show with us in 2016, I think it was, and seeing them return only two years after playing a 1000-cap venue was amazing.

One I’d love to put on is Orville Peck who I discovered a couple years ago but unfortunately they weren’t around to play TGE then. Hopefully we can make it happen for 2020. He’s an incredible songwriter and a cult figure for the LGBT community and country fans alike.

Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the industry?

Get your hands dirty and be proactive! Volunteer at festivals or events, organise your own nights, talk to people in the industry, ask them questions and be nice to everyone! Do what you love to do and put all your energy in it; hard workmanship, determination and passion will pay out eventually.

What professional achievement are you most proud of?

Navigating over 70 partnerships across TGE each year and staying sane in the process!

Who has been your biggest champion/s along the way?

Loads of people have helped me – a key one has been Kevin Moore, now at Vision Nine, who was General Manager at TGE when I joined. He taught me so much about the industry; he’s got a great work ethic and lots of determination. Without his guidance and encouragement, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have to date.

Another champion for me is Lyndsey Boggis, current GM of TGE and on maternity leave – she’s a legend on so many levels, from being a mum now and still managing artists, to bringing change and shaping the festival to great heights.

Are there any failure or fuck-up moments that you learnt a lot from?

I was absolutely mortified when I once sent a whole database of email addresses to a client who then replied and kindly said they’d pretend it never happened… I now triple check emails every time before I hit send.

What advice would you give to your younger self, say 5-10 years?

Don’t be scared to stand up for yourself and be assertive. There have been many situations where I wasn’t confident enough to stand up for myself and afterwards regretted it. There will be situations where you feel defeated and insecure, but nothing feels better than speaking up for what you deserve. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, get used to speaking in public and get comfortable with networking.

Best gig of last year?

Best small show: Viagra Boys at The Shacklewell Arms, London
Best big show: Max Cooper at the Barbican, London

Top 3 Artists to watch in 2020?

Sinead O’Brien

Warmduscher

Lunch Money Life

What is your go-to Karaoke song?  
Toto‚ Africa