International Women’s Day with Mel Kennedy

Backstage with Live



Wednesday, 8th March


Tell us a bit about your role and how you got into this business?

I am the Sales Director for Live Event Logistics. That’s my title. My role is to build new opportunities, nurture our relationships and ensure that we deliver on our commitments through the lens of what is actually happening across the live event industry. I spent over 20 years in the hotel industry and 15 of those were specifically working with the entertainment and sport industries. That was my passion and being in a service industry that supported those clients who were creating those moments on stage, on screen or on the field – the opportunity to be able to play some small role in making that happen.

Now I am involved in moving the things instead of accommodating the people. It was a perfect transition. The world of entertainment logistics is such a critical part of making it happen. If it doesn’t get from A to B it doesn’t happen.


Would you say the pathways for females working in entertainment freight and logistics have changed since you first started in the industry?

I haven’t been on the freight and logistics side that long so I can’t really talk to how it has evolved. On the outset particularly on the trucking side it is a heavily male dominated industry. That’s a fact. It’s interesting because coming into the trucking world I think I put a certain expectation or pressure on myself of how I would or maybe should fit in.  It was my pressure, no one else’s.  Don’t get me wrong I know there are pressures and equalities out there. That’s why we have days like today.

For me, I have amazing PM’s, TM’s, promoters and producers who I have worked with in the hotel world, who now trust me with their gear and I do love that there are so many women working all across all facets of the industry.

I also work with a team of men who have decades of experience in freight and logistics . That experience is critical and they get it done, though I also like to think I bring another perspective and range of skills that complements the experience that they have.


What or who inspires or motivates you, working in this industry today?  

The collaboration across the industry – the genuine commitment to looking forward, getting it done now and planning for a future that is sustainable. 

We are at such a unique point across the live event industry where there is more collaboration and maybe consideration than there was before. Resources are stretched. Conversations are happening. Everyone is looking forward, that is inspiring.


Do you find there is comradery and advocacy amongst your female peers in the industry, and what drives that?

Yes! Even putting this feature together, everyone is so busy but there was such a willingness to be a part of it and have a voice for the greater good. These women inspire me.  

I saw Sophie do an online Sounds Session for Sounds Australia,  sharing her experience and insights on the Economics of Export while tending to her daughter Goldie. It sends a great message.

I first met Emma at our warehouse loading gear for Courtney Barnett. It was 3 women (myself included) loading a van. A small thing and it happens everyday but we had just moved into our warehouse after a year of working from home and this was one of the first pick ups I’d been involved in, and it just made me happy.

And of course Tam who has such extensive experience and relationships in the world of entertainment logistics, and has built the Roadpro business with her husband Rusty, hands on and getting it done. 

There is definitely space for more women in the industry, and women who are there to support them. 


What is your favourite venue, site or tour you have worked on and what made it so special?

I do love the Enmore Theatre in Sydney. I have seen so many great acts there over the years and it just has such a great vibe and it’s in such a great part of Sydney. The team at the venue are also easy to work with when we are loading in or out.

On a larger scale we had a number of trucks on Good Things last year, so managing those schedules across individual acts, side shows and the 3 back to back festivals definitely pushed my experience in tour trucking up a level. Being on site for that in Sydney was definitely a highlight – to see all of the components, crew and suppliers in action behind the scenes to bring the festival to life, and then to see the audience on the other side of the fence experience it. Amazing! 


What do you enjoy doing in your downtime?

I feel like there are so many relationships that I have built over the years that go beyond work. That is the piece that keeps you going when things are at their busiest, that genuine motivation to work together to get it done. It’s so important in this industry.

I don’t think you ever really switch off because listening to music, watching TV, passing a billboard or a venue can always remind you of something you are working on, or want to work on.

When I worked in hotels I managed the AFL account for a number of years and in the process of trying to understand the game I found I really did enjoy it and have become an avid Swans supporter.  Any home game at the SCG, that’s where I’ll be!

Outside of that, I have my husband and 2 children, well adults really, so spending time with them and having that balance is important to me.


Covid has obviously had a massive impact on the industry. Looking forward, what do you see as the biggest challenges or opportunities over the next 2-3 years?

Resources, drivers, cost of fuel, and general constraints on the supply chain continue to have a massive impact. With the amount of content coming in and talent going out of the country there is a real opportunity to set a new benchmark in terms of the sheer volume of events that can be delivered and talent that is exporting. How successful the industry can be will come down to event resourcing and cost, and the financial resources people have to be able to experience it. 

The other critical part to that is the support around mental health.  I feel like a lot of people were talking about getting “match fit” again to tour and deal with the volume of pent up work that was coming in 2022. Now there are more conversations also around work-life balance in the industry and building the resources to better enable people to be mentally-fit and have sustainable careers.

Having that get pushed up the priority list is probably one of the best things to come out of Covid for the industry. 


What is the best piece of advice you can give for the next generation of women wanting to get into Entertainment Freight and Logistics?

Just jump in, there are so many opportunities for anyone who wants to take or make them.

Know your passion. The technical side of this business I had to learn. The servicing the industry I knew and that’s what motivated me to expand my skills in another part of the live event industry, to play a bigger role. 

Get amongst it and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t limit yourself to the role you think you should play. Our industry is about making it happen. I love to be at a load in or load out, not only because I get to catch up with the TM or PM, but this is where it happens, the crew, the venue the drivers. Be respectful of that. 

Have a voice and use it. Build a network of people who you can lean on and let them lean on you. Listen, learn, ask questions, and pay attention to what is going on around you. What works, what doesn’t and how you can have a meaningful impact. Knowledge is confidence, curiosity breeds innovation and progress, and strong relationships are critical.


©2021 Live Event Logistics Pty Ltd       Privacy Policy | Contact Us