Wednesday, 8th March
I am the Co-Founder of Lost Motel, a multi service touring and event agency. Our offering encompasses global Tour Direction, Tour Management, Entertainment Visas and Artist Relations Management at major festivals and events in Australia and New Zealand. Starting my career in the music industry as a festival volunteer laminating for days on end, I’ve worked the gamut of roles to get to Lost Motel and it was tour management and logistics where I really found my place (and Yasmin!). We recognised that we could achieve infinitely more as the sum of our parts, and so our business was built off the premise of delivering higher level experiences for our artists and festivals by working collaboratively with a team, rather than as lone individuals. We wanted to ensure, particularly as women, that even if we (or our colleagues) were no longer ‘on the road’, we could still continue to forge ahead and grow our careers.
The pathways to entering the industry itself continue to shift to a place where there is greater acceptance and encouragement of women in the music industry, and particularly in leadership roles. However, in touring roles specifically, I feel that challenges still exist. There are men who continue to be apprehensive to bring women into a tour party, for fears it will ‘ruin the vibe’ and ‘be like having your Mum/wife/sister around’. It’s a dated (and misguided) attitude and is the biggest brick wall for incredibly talented women being given equal opportunities to their male counterparts.
I am motivated daily to function at my highest potential, which of course is both a blessing and a curse. I have consistently wanted to build an environment for my peers where they can feel that their career in the industry is sustainable and valued; they feel supported and remunerated, their mental and physical health is prioritised, and they take pride in their professional achievements.
Thank you – we’re really proud of what our incredible team of female staff are all achieving. We see women represented across all areas of the live music industry and I think women enjoy working with other women – it’s a different work dynamic. That said, we always want to see more women in touring roles and not as a token gesture, but because too much testosterone isn’t all that great for business. The studies are endless.
Some of my favourite touring memories are out in the middle of nowhere in the US in the back of beyond on a long overnight drive. There’s this twilight zone comradery where everyone is in their PJs at a truck stop at 3am buying random snacks, or kicking off another hour of a bus dance party.
For transparency, for the first 12 months as a mum to Goldie – and with the infamous return of live music in 2022 which knocked the industry for six – life was far from balanced. Like many I spoke with, I was drowning in it all and felt very broken and exhausted. At the end of last year, I made a decision that I needed to make immediate changes so I removed myself from a number of summer shows and started to recalibrate. I have a renewed focus on quality time with my family (we just went on a holiday in NZ!), sleep, diet, exercise, meditation, personal development and drinking 2 litres of water a day. The scales are beginning to tip back in my favour again, which feels amazing.
The COVID shutdown highlighted the true state of our industry and for many it was overworked, with minimal to no financial education, behind on their tax/superannuation and a far cry from other industries of the same scale in terms of workforce welfare. Despite the economic contribution in the billions, our lack of unity meant we were misrepresented in the statistics and were little more than a small group of frustrated ‘roadies’ wanting to get out and push cases again.
The silver living however is now in the opportunity for everyone from the top down, to treat this as a real industry with real careers and the overall welfare that entails. Physical health and mental health must be a priority, and likewise, the economic health of the individual – many of which are operating as sole traders – must continue to be at the forefront of the industry’s modus operandi.
How we move our gear from A to B is integral to the success of a show or tour, and having a freight partner like LEL who feels wholeheartedly invested in those moves however basic or complex, means the world to us. We can’t deliver successful runs for our artists without their wealth of knowledge and experience. I’ve always been incredibly grateful for Chris, Andrew, Anne and the LEL team, and the respect that they have shown me as an operator within the industry. We see them as a vital member of our Lost Motel team, and we value them greatly.
When I first began my career in the music industry and I was trying to grow my career as a TM, I was ignored, overlooked, disrespected and disregarded at various times by other crew, suppliers, managers and promoters. It was dark and very challenging at times as I knew that it was a role I could be great at, if people would give me the time of day. It has taken me many years to recognise that your greatest asset is to find your strengths, and surround yourself with those who you can empower to share theirs. Build a team around you who you love working with, and who love working with you. You will need people to turn to at times, and so will they. For every individual you may come across who may treat you differently because you’re a woman, don’t take the bait, there is a wealth of others who will respect you if you respect them in return.