Music / Interview

Industry Q&A: Michelle Henderson from Big Top Sydney

This month we get to know Michelle Henderson, Ticketing, Marketing and Event Coordinator for Sydney's Big Top at Luna Park.

With a title like Ticketing, Marketing and Event Coordinator, it’s apparent Michelle Henderson of Big Top Sydney wears many hats. We had the chance to sit down with Michelle to find out how she balances her workload alongside what makes her tick in the music industry.

Thanks for chatting to us Michelle, tell us about your role? What does a regular day look like? 

My day generally starts on the right foot, when walking through the smiley, iconic Luna Park Face, which can lead me to two different kinds of a day –

  • Up to the offices; where on a regular day I work closely with promoters, managing on sales, all glorious ticketing dimensions, being responsible for the marketing of all our ticketed events, and often broken up with site visits, meetings and having a giggle in between!
    Or…
  • Straight into the Big Top, and switching to operations mode as an Event Manager. Being the main venue contact by assisting with bump in and production logistics, through to promoter and artist liaison, assisting with catering and ticketing, through to working closely with security and front of house to execute awesome events.

With so much going on in the event space, how do you keep your work/life balance?

There’s no equation on this one for me, just pot luck (and lots of coffee). It’s not surprising the nature of this game is often long hours and always keeping an eye out for an email notification, but I’ve found having incredible support from above in the workplace, through to friendships pulling you out the door both all help to try and win the fight for the ultimate work/life balance.

What do you love most about the fast-paced nature of the music industry?

To me, the fast-paced nature of the industry is refreshing – it keeps you on your toes constantly, there is no time to be complacent. On top of this, the striking takeaway I continue to be grateful for, remains to be; amidst all the chaos, deadlines and changes, all teams involved in event operations from promoters, production, artists, ticketing, crew, and FOH – there is an omnipresent ‘hustle’ fuelled by none other than the genuine want to produce a product for the pure enjoyment of others. This, the intangible feeling, is what keeps me driven to keep up with the industry no matter how crazy paced it can get.

What are the challenges you find the industry is facing?

Unfortunately, Sydney’s music scene is facing a bit of a shakeup. With recent politics really pushing its boundaries, our usual ways of business are being challenged, so it’ll be interesting to see how these unfold. Nonetheless, I think our industry’s united efforts so far show the passion of all its branches, and we aren’t going to be uprooted without a fight.

What’s been your favourite show ever at Big Top?

Harbour Party NYE. People could say that working on New Year’s Eve is a tough gig, but this event – albeit the most demanding on the calendar – sees The Big Top engulf Luna Park as a whole. Bringing together thousands of people from far and wide, we throw together an awesome lineup of artists and position them with an incredible backdrop of the Sydney Harbour with its iconic fireworks shooting through the sky. This event is one favourite that’s hard to beat.

What shows are you excited for?

Architect. We love all gigs and genres however we have one HUGE soft spot at the Big Top Sydney for a rock gig. We’re psyched to be hosting these British rockstars in August. The band haven’t done a headlining tour of Australia for a few years and we’re totally arms and ears wide open for their return.
Ed note: The band have just added a second Big Top show after selling out the first date – more info here.

What advice would you give to any young people looking to enter the music industry?

Surround yourself with supportive leaders, and endeavour to lead in supportive ways.

Which three acts should we have on our Spotify playlist right now?

Gang of Youths are a total powerhouse who have a permanent place on my daily playlist, along with the female powerhouses Jack River and Maggie Rogers are on my repeat cycle.

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