Want my job? with Rose Slade, Hat Fair Festival Co-ordinator

Hat Fair is the UK's longest running festival of Outdoor Arts, which takes place in Winchester each year.

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hi, my name is Rose and I'm the Hat Fair Festival Co-ordinator! Hat Fair is the UK's longest running festival of Outdoor Arts, which takes place in Winchester each year. It's a family-friendly festival with street performance and Outdoor Arts from around the world, circus, music, dance, theatre, puppets and more, plus local and community artists.

12564cb27ed31728cd5337c1865cb44e1b06f8c4.JPGWhat does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?

Everything and anything! My role is to make sure all the different parts of the festival join up essentially. I deal with liaising with venues, and collect company and artists info. I book accommodation and travel. I draft contracts, apply for licences and confirm traders. I put the programme schedule together and book our busking and filler acts. I make sure that all the internal teams like Volunteer Coordinator and Marketing get the information they need and generally all things to help the programme run smoothly.

What’s great about what you do?

All the above! Everyday is different and you can never get bored!

What are the toughest parts of your job?

Challenges are always there when you deal with live outdoor events and you have to think on your feet a lot to solve problems in the moment.

What are the highlights of your career to date?

Honestly, I love it all, but I'm really proud of the fact that we delivered a live event during Covid as the audiences were so appreciative having been locked in for so long.

What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it? Working on multiple projects at one time can be quite stressful. The key is to know your limits, prioritise correctly and take each challenge one by one.

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?

Yes, I started life as a pub/nightClub manager. After a change to my circumstances I had to rethink. I started as a volunteer for Hat Fair in 2012 and now I'm here! The job has led into other events that I am now able to work on in my quieter periods.

Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what? 

Funding in the Arts is being squeezed and squeezed as costs rise and rise making it increasingly more difficult to deliver work - But We Persist!

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

I never intended to end up here but actually am unsurprised - I wish I'd have realised sooner that this was a job!

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to a 16-year-old you. What do you say?

I have no regrets. I shoulda coulda woulda worked harder at school, but if I had, would I have ended up here?

Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?

Volunteer. Get experience. Get your name out there and in people's minds as an asset. So much of event work is about connections.

Where can people find you and your work online?

playtothecrowd.co.uk (the arts and education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers),hatfair.co.uk (the UK's longest running festival of Outdoor Arts),playmakers.org.uk (community engagement and creative learning throughout Winchester) andtheatreroyalwinchester.co.uk (which this year held an indoor Hat Fair event - the Hat Fair Cabaret).

Header Image Credit: Provided


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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