Sarah Foster is the Partnerships and Event Manager of Cattleyard Promotions. Cattleyard Promotions is a world-class leader in creating, developing and promoting a handpicked selection of fresh, fun, accessible, quality and meaningful live experiences for a diverse range of communities, with events like The Plot and the world-renowned Groovin The Moo festival – a destination festival that has brought local and international music acts to regional areas of Australia for 13 years.
What does a normal day look like for you?
Usually I’ll start my day by writing out my to-do list, then I’ll catch up on emails and paperwork from the afternoon/night before. I spend a fair bit of time liaising with stakeholders and clients on a daily basis, particularly when doing things like event applications or partnership proposals. It’s pretty common that I have at least one meeting a day, either external or internal, so I try and schedule those for the afternoon. Before I leave, I always make sure my to-do list is completely ticked off! I think it’s really important to have daily goals that you achieve, even if it’s completing all of your tasks for the day. When I’m a couple of weeks out from an event, and then on-site for a festival or show, the concept of a normal day can sort of go out the window, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Which artist do you relate to and why?
It sounds a bit cliché, but if there’s any artist that I aspire to, it would be Beyoncé. She’s an icon in her own right, and has had an impact on music in more ways than one. Her strength as a woman, and her ability to speak to and unite fans across the world with her music is amazing and inspiring. She has this ability to use her music and art as a vessel, not only as a form of entertainment, but as an educational tool in so many different contexts.
On a more localised level, Stella Donnelly is amazing. I grew up in WA, and remember going to the Ellington Jazz Club and Mojo’s in Fremantle and watching her play. It’s really great to see a local Perth girl making waves in the music scene, especially on a national and international level. I was so happy for her when she took out the Levi’s Music Prize at Bigsound in 2017, it was well earned. For me, I believe it’s important to implement the work ethic of artists into my own work ethics and career; hard work and perseverance.
What have been some high notes (highlights) in your journey?
I remember watching Concert for George on TV with my Dad back in 2002, and it was at that point that I said to myself, “I want to do that when I’m older. I want to put on shows and music festivals.” Seeing that dream and goal come into fruition has really been a daily reminder why I do this work. For me, music has always been a universal language that has the ability to bring people together, regardless of age, race and gender. I am very grateful that I can work in an industry which I love and believe in, and can provide people with an outlet, an experience and memories they can take home with them.
What have been some low notes (challenges) in your journey?
With most careers and industries, you have to take the good with the bad. I can’t pinpoint any particular challenges as such, but there’s been times where I’ve been working on a festival over the summer holiday period, and I’ve seen my family and friends once over the Christmas/Boxing Day/New Year period. That’s a difficult part, you give up a fair amount of your time, you miss birthdays, events and give up your weekends and weeknights, you might not see your partner for weeks at a time, but it’s all worth it when you see your hard work come together. Walking away from the festival/gig knowing you put in everything you could to make it amazing is a pretty good feeling.
When things get tough, which songs do you turn to for inspiration/motivation?
I’ll listen to something like The White Album, or go in the complete opposite direction and listen to a Diplo or Ryan Hemsworth mix on Soundcloud. I’ve been listening to a lot of soul and R&B music lately too, Sam Cooke and Al Green. That’s the good thing about music, it’s diverse and you can always find something that fits your mood.
How does music keep you motivated?
There’s actually some psychology behind the link between music and motivation, it’s pretty interesting! If I’m hitting a brick wall and I can’t focus on work at hand, I’ll put on a record I haven’t listened to for a while or something completely new and that helps me focus. I try and listen to at least 3 new records a week, a mix of new releases and old records, or even music podcasts to keep it relevant and interesting.
What tips can you share for putting together a ripper event?
Having a good team who share your passions and ambitions is definitely a must. It’s imperative to work with people who are open to learning new things and expanding their existing skill set. Being flexible and having the ability to take on constructive criticism from others is key. Event wise, it’s really important that you give the event longevity, build connections with your audience, and provide a unique offering. Artists and music are a key cornerstone to the success of an event, but you also want the patron to walk away remembering other aspects too. Customer care is number one!
What advice can you give for those interested in pursuing a career in the music industry?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking definitely has its place in the music industry, but it’s just as important to work hard, stay humble and don’t be afraid to try different avenues. There’s been times where I’ve sat in the artist carpark and handed out accreditation for 14 hours, scanned tickets on the front gate, laminated in an office for 3 days straight, and written reviews for online forums and music media for free. It’s important to have an open mind and remain flexible… you can’t start out having the attitude that you’re too good for a job or don’t want to do something. The right people will notice if you work hard enough.
What’s currently playing on your Spotify?
- Channel Tres – Channel Tres EP
- The Internet – Hive Mind
- Clairo – Dairy 001
- Land of Talk – Life After Youth
- Lord Huron – Vide Noir
- DMA’s – For Now
- Shame – Songs of Praise
- Tiny Little Houses – Idiot Proverbs
- Jack River – Sugar Mountain
- Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin
- Hole – Live Through This
- The Carters – Everything is Love
- Gill Scott Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here
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