meet the architects: James Arnold-Garvey

If you’ve seen the new Spider-Man movie, you’ll know that every superhero needs their “guy in the chair”. While Peter Parker is out crawling walls and saving babies, his main man is back at mission control feeding him info, steering him away from danger and pointing him in the right direction. If you haven’t seen the new Spider-Man movie, this next person will be very disappointed in you. This week, we want to introduce you to our guy on the home front pulling all the threads together, the voice of reason giving the rest of us the head’s up while we’re out in the field saving your babies. Please say g’day to our General Manager, James Arnold-Garvey.

AOE Blog: So who the fuck are you?

I’m James, General Manager of Architects of Entertainment. You can call me Jimmy if you want to but few people do.

OK, Jimmy, what was the first festival you ever attended?

Big Day Out, 2000. It was the start of my last year of high school and I don’t think I had any real concept of what a music festival was at that point, let alone something as large as Big Day Out. Chilis, Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers, Foos and Basement Jaxx were there. So were 20,000 other people. I think it blew my little mind a bit.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, really. I fancied myself a musician when I was younger, studied audio engineering and got into recording and mixing, crewed on a few smaller festivals, ended up in music media for a while, did a bit of PR and marketing. Just sort of kept one toe in the pool, all while doing various other jobs and learning new skills to keep me afloat. And now I’m here, thanks to the good graces of our glorious benefactors.

And what have you been doing with us since then?

More of a mixed bag! From finance and accounts, contracts, policy and HR, through to IT, admin and socials. I’ve got a bit of a hand in everything. I manage, generally.

What was the biggest lesson you learned on your first professional gig?

Be ready to do whatever you can, because you’ll have to do something you never thought you would.

What do you do better than anyone else?

You know when you ask someone to fix your computer but, before they’ve done anything, everything magically works all of a sudden and you feel like a bit of an idiot? I’m that guy.

What artist, dead or alive, would you most like to see live?

Hmm. Kate Bush, Tom Waits or Talking Heads. Until Keith Richards dies, and then I’ll probably wish I’d have seen him.

Who inspires you and why?

Our team inspires me. Is that too corny?

A little.

Well, it’s true. We have two incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and hardworking leaders at the helm. We have an event manager ready for whatever comes his way. We have great support and a depth of passion from administrations and accounts. Crew on the front line at all hours of the day. All in service of bringing the music to the people. Surrounded by that, it’s hard not to be inspired.

What about me, your ever-loving blog?

You’re alright, I guess. A little needy.

So what are some big things you’re hoping to achieve in the next, say, 5 years?

I want to see AoE grow and flourish. I want to learn more about what needs to be done here and do it. I want to produce more of our own shows. I want to establish our Melbourne office. I want us to be recognised as industry leaders. And I want it to happen in two years, not five. Personally, I want to see more live music and support new talent however I can.

A minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What is your refreshing beverage of choice?

A nice bourbon, neat, please.

And what’s next?

I’ll probably post this blog.

James is currently posting this blog. He’ll be working across all upcoming AoE shows, but you might not even see him.

Feature Image: Rebecca Houlden

meet the architects: Amy Jessup

When you’ve been doing the same thing for a while, the fire can dim a little. It’s still there, still keeps you toasty and cozy, but maybe it doesn’t rage like it did before. Maybe you take it for granted, just a bit. And when you’re down to the embers, what you need is someone who’ll take a seat at the hearth and remind you that the fire’s still there, and you can always bring it back to life – it’s just gotta get stoked. Our youngest team member is the fuel to our fire, fan to our flames, and, frankly, fuckin’ fantastic. Please give your warmest of welcomes to the Little Boss: Amy Jessup, Administrations.

AoE Blog: So who the bloody hell are you?

Amy: I’m Amy Jessup, I look after Administrations here.

Hi, Amy! Let’s start with the first festival you ever attended?

Super Bock Super Rock was the first festival that I ever went to. It’s a 3-day camping festival in Portugal. The year I went it was headlined by Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Kooks and Arcade Fire!

Great lineup!

It was amazing!

So how did you make your move into the music industry?

I’ve always loved music! I’ve played piano since I was young, then I studied a Bachelor of Entertainment Management at the Australian Institute of Music. As part of my degree I did an internship with AoE and now I’m a fully fledged AoE team member!

The system works! So what have you been doing with us since you signed up?

It’s been busy! So far I’ve been a part of Fairgrounds in 2016, Lost Paradise over New Years, then FOMO and Laneway. I’ve been looking after AoE admin and socials, working on tour books and schedules for the Aussie Diplo and RL Grime tours, and seeing out our own BAD Friday gig over Easter. Then the big one that we just smashed was Splendour in the Grass.

What was the biggest lesson you learned on your first professional gig?

That even the smallest parts of the job matter and attention to detail is key. Whether it’s ensuring the right people have the right accreditation, updating schedules and contact details, to recording who has a radio – it all matters and makes sure the event runs smoothly and seamlessly.

Who inspires you and why?

The incredible women of the Aussie music industry inspire me! There are so many badass babes crushing goals, putting on awesome events and creating beautiful music. I have a bit of a girl crush on Nina Las Vegas actually – she is such a champion for the Keep Sydney Open movement and for women in the music industry. She kills it!

What do you do better than anyone else?

Well, I have been known to make the perfect cup of tea…

Do tell.

I think it’s the British side of me coming out – we’re very particular about our tea. None of this milk-in-first nonsense, and the brew time is crucial.

As you say, attention to detail is key. What are some big things you’re hoping to achieve in the next, say, 5 years?

Lots of learning ahead! A big goal is to become an Event Manager and be looking after and running events myself. Until then, it’s being involved in as many festivals, events and tours as possible, getting lots of experience and learning as much as I can.

Who would be your dream tour to produce?

Arctic Monkeys, for sure!

One for the road – a minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What’s your refreshing beverage of choice?

Kraken, dry and lime.

And what’s next?

Learning, doing, coffee.

Amy is currently kicking ass and taking names across all AoE shows. Drop in to the Big House and she might even show you how to make the perfect cup of tea. If you ask nicely.

Feature Image: Rebecca Houlden

Happy Birthday To Us!

It was on the all-too-familiar Pacific Highway between Sydney and Byron – en route to another Splendour in the Grass – the words “Architects of Entertainment” were first uttered. It’s hard to believe but it’s now been two years since AoE first opened its doors, and we’re back at Splendour, ready for our biggest show yet.

Since our two fearless leaders Haydn and Nathaniel teamed up in 2015, we have:

  • Cut the ribbon on our home at The Big House in Beaconsfield
  • Settled in to our central coast HQ, The Farm House (for all your asset storage needs)
  • Grown from a tiny team of two, to a blooming bunch of five (and counting)
  • Launched our partnership with the Australian Institute of Music, establishing the AoE ENGAGE intern program
  • Travelled thousands of miles across Australia and beyond to produce, design and manage some of the world’s best festivals
  • Presented our own show, BAD Friday, with our partners at The Music & Booze Company (stay tuned for details on next year’s show)
  • Smashed out this very website (sexy, no?)
  • And made countless new friends (some of whom we’re very excited to introduce you to in the coming weeks)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more to come as we enter year three. Thanks to all of you who’ve shared this journey with us, and to those who’s helped us get where we are. So, yeah, happy birthday to us. Buy us a beer pls.

Feature Image: Rebecca Houlden

meet the architects: Jeremy Stones

Welcome back. We’ve missed you, though truth be told we’ve actually been avoiding you. It’s been a busy, busy, busy “off-season” at The Big House – well, it’s usually our off-season, but this year’s different. That’s because our baby AoE is growin’ up real fast, and we’re making sure she’s got all the things she needs for the next stages in her rapid development. One of those things was new blood, and since we couldn’t afford a transfusion (#savemedicare) we scoured the country until we got some. As it turns out, you can get blood from Stones. Who knew? Say hey to the newest member of the team, Event Manager Jeremy Stones.

AOE Blog: So who the fuck are you?

Jeremy: My name is Jeremy. My mates call me Bones.

I’ve heard they call you plenty of other things too.

No need to get into that here. I love new music, food – both cooking and eating – motorbikes and snowboarding. I have a gorgeous baby daughter named Marley with my wife, Jessie, and a dog named Pickle.

A very wholesome, well-rounded man, you are. Tell us about your very first on-site festival, tour or event experience.

The first event I was involved in was called Wonderland, which happened at an abandoned old bird sanctuary in the Gold Coast Hinterland in 2008. Although I was only involved quite late in the piece, I wanted to be hands-on and helped out with the site build, generally helping pull the event together.

This was before I embarked on any Serious Music Industry Endeavour and although I was only volunteering my time, the satisfaction of bringing it all together with a great team of people was the the spark I needed to quit my job and move to Melbourne to study Entertainment Business Management.

Inspirational! What was the first festival you ever attended as a punter?

The inaugural Homebake at Belongil Fields, Byron Bay in 1996.

Nathaniel’s first professional gig was Homebake in Sydney that same year, for those playing along at home.

Yeah! Grinspoon were the Unearthed band that year and Silverchair were in peak ‘Frogstomp’. The entire event was a complete mud pit, and quite eye-opening for my first licenced all-ages event. I could just cut loose with my friends.

The Mark Of Cain, Tumbleweed and Grinners blew me away, but my best memory is Daniel Johns storming off stage after wearing a muddy shoe to the head, thrown from somewhere deep in the crowd. I was 15 and thought the chaos was fucking brilliant.

How did you get your start in the music industry?

After finishing studying and working for a small promoter in Melbourne, I moved to Sydney and began managing The Delta Riggs for the best part of six years. I rented a small office in the old BJB Studios building and shortly after I began day-to-day tour managing for Angus and Julia Stone. That was during A&J’s ‘Down The Way’ record cycle, and the experience working with and learning from a team who were really at the top of their game was invaluable.

Your proudest professional moment to date?

As manager of The Delta Riggs, we supported Foo Fighters on their 2015 Australian stadium tour. Huge stages, massive crowds and the boys brought it large. The whole thing – from our point of view – ran super smoothly and we made some great friends on that tour too. Watching the guys tear the roof off ANZ and Etihad Stadiums was something I’ll never forget.

Impressive. What are some big things you’re hoping to achieve in the next, say, 5 years?

To continue learning from the team at AoE and further my relationships and experience within the Australian international touring industry. Hopefully that means bigger roles on large events, as well as helping grow new ideas!

That…is the correct answer. What artist dead or alive would you most like to see live?

I still have never seen Radiohead. FML.

FYL indeed. What do you do better than anyone else?

Not sure if better that ANYONE, but I love site design and layout; walking though a blank space and visualising what it could become!

Wrapping up. A minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What’s your refreshing beverage of choice?

Some kind of delicious IPA, and keep them coming please!

And what’s your next move?

In the next eight months, I’ll be event manager for a couple of festivals north of Sydney, both of which are growing and using new sites and site layouts. I’m looking forward to helping develop these and hopefully other festivals into major events on the Australian calendar. And I’m working Splendour right now!

Right now?

Right now.

Jeremy is currently working Splendour right now. Plus he’s helping shepherd two festivals recently added to the AoE roster. Watch this space, more to come.

Feature Image: Rebecca Houlden

meet the architects: Nathaniel Holmes

Architects of Entertainment is the Kim and Kanye of Australian festival and event production. When the company’s co-founders — mighty solo forces in their own right — teamed up to form AoE, they unleashed a hybrid brand so awe-inspiring it deserved its own ‘New Idea’ cover. It didn’t get one, but it deserved it. Director Nathaniel Kardashian-Holmes, one half of this most formidable power couple, stumbled into architectsofentertainment.com in the middle of the night, looking for water. He surprised us.

AOE Blog: Hello. Who the fuck are you?

Nathaniel: Depends on who you are. I go by many names.

OK, Mr Mystery, your name’s in the title anyway. Tell us about your very first on-site festival, tour or event experience, Nathaniel Holmes.

I did my first festival when I was 14. It was Homebake in 1996, when it used to be at Sydney Uni. Three things stick in my mind:

  1. Seeing a real mosh pit for the first time. Frenzal Rhomb were annihilating the crowd with relentless punk rock. I just sat on the speaker stack and watched in awe as a crowd of people seemingly became one heaving mess. A girl came flying over the barrier and landed, completely unassisted, right on her face. Right on her fucking face! I thought she was dead but eventually she got up and ran straight back into the pit.
  2. Watching the singer from [REDACTED] snort a line of sugar in his dressing room before their set. He didn’t think it was sugar. One of the crew had prepared it earlier in the day before any artists had arrived and the singer just helped himself to what he thought was generous festival hospitality. We all had a good laugh at his sugary expense.
  3. Lifting something very heavy — barrier, back when it was steel — and then realising I had to lift it again 100 more times. I didn’t realise at the time but that was a metaphor for the next 20yrs of my life.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about putting together events since then?

That it doesn’t matter what your role is, you are just one small part of a large operation.

Who inspires you and why?

Omar Rodríguez-López. The Do Lab. They are very clever people that use simple tools and materials to create truly amazing things.  Their respective bodies of work are nothing short of prolific.

What do you do better than anyone else?

Knowing if something is going to fit through a doorway just by sight. It’s a mild superpower of mine.

Impressive. Your proudest professional moment to date?

Changing Lanes 2011. We closed several roads in the middle of Surry Hills, Sydney.  6 months of planning. We had 8 hrs to build a 6-stage festival, complete with outdoor bars, art installations, food, markets, even a catwalk for a fashion show. We had 10 hrs to run the show, 4 hrs to return it to an empty street. All with volunteers and a handful of beautiful, dedicated humans. All while dealing with City of Sydney and Surry Hills licensing. Anyone who understands the landscape of events in Sydney understands what that means. 5,000 people attended that day, it sold out. As far as logistics go it was a work of art.

Your promo video talks about finding “the space between the stars”. What does that phrase mean to you?

Between every star there are the stories. All stars are connected. We are the stories.

Nice and vague. Why do you do what you do?

Because it allows me to be so many different people. Thus I go by many names.

A minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What’s your refreshing beverage of choice?

Double Jameson. Neat. No glass.

And what’s your next move?

To get chickens for my backyard.

Nathaniel is currently building the next iterations of Fairgrounds, Lost Paradise, FOMO and Laneway festivals, with a few more secrets up his sleeve too. Please send all chickens c/o The Big House.

 

meet the architects: Haydn Johnston

Architects of Entertainment is the brainchild of two exceptionally fertile minds, and director Haydn Johnston keeps at least one of those minds in his own skull. After a big long weekend at the Deniliquin Ute Muster, the AoE co-founder dropped in to architectsofentertainment.com unannounced to say hello.

Hello. Who the fuck are you?

More importantly, who the fuck are you?

I am a blog.

OK. I’m Haydn. I work here. But me, personally, you don’t need to know intimately; the nature of what I do allows me to sit hidden in the background, bringing the dreams alive. It is safe to say, though, that I have enough chops to be able to bring any dream alive. It’s just that some dreams are better than the others.

Right on. Tell me about your very first on-site festival, tour or event experience.

I really can’t remember that far back. There are things entrenched in my memory from early work experience, most of them things that I never want to do or experience again. Things like being on site when the 100 or so portaloos are pumped out, or putting up fencing. Touring is even harder to remember – they all blur into one, just the names are changed!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about putting together events since then?

Oh, I have had my ass handed to me so many times it’s not funny, but I guess the most important thing I’ve learned is to never think it’s going to be easy. Plan for the worst then when it hits you’re not surprised. That and the value of good crew down in trenches. Success is measured by the people who are there with you.

Who inspires you and why?

My inspiration doesn’t come from people within my industry, it comes from people who have to fight against their own adversities every day and still manage to have a smile. There are some seriously impressive people in this world, doing far better things than I. Industry-wise, I have the utmost respect for the people who have come before me. The live music industry is not that old, to be truthful, and there are still people working in it who helped build that industry. They are the reason I have a job. One of my beliefs is that you’ll never know where you can go unless you understand where the industry has come from.

What do you do better than anyone else?

I’ve been known to be able to tell a story…

Your proudest professional moment to date?

The fact that I’m still able to find work and support my family. Working in live music over 20-something years and being able to do that is an achievement.

Your promo video talks about finding “the space between the stars”. What does that phrase mean to you?

To me it means that we are responsible for the journey, the people who help take people to where it is they think they want to be.

Why do you do what you do?

Because I believe in music, and the 3.5 minutes of a song is the greatest distraction of life. Hell, you don’t even need to know the right words, but when it’s your favorite song, your hands are in the air and you’re shaking like you just don’t care.

A minute ago you finished bump out on the biggest festival you’ve ever put together. What’s your refreshing beverage of choice?

Hendricks and Tonic – double

And what’s your next move?

Another Hendricks and Tonic.

Haydn is currently building the next iterations of Splendour In The Grass, Lost Paradise, Laneway and more. His debut album is still in its infancy.

Hello World!

We have landed.

One of the great joys about what we do is getting to walk onto a site for the first time and getting to know it, learning from it as best we can, and getting to use our imaginations to transform this field or valley into an amazing event.

We are responsible for the feel and the look and the vibe of what’s happening until the music gets turned on, and then we run in parallel to the music. Everything works collaboratively.

Originality is everything and that is in the forefront of our minds whenever we come up with a new design.

When people look into the night sky they only see the stars. When we look into the night sky we see the space between the stars, because we know that’s where the stories are. That’s where we exist. 

We are Architects of Entertainment. We are the space between the stars.