So You Want To Be A… Booking Agent
If you’re at all partial to Sydney’s annual nostalgia-fuelled fest, UnFun, Dan Nascimento is the man to thank. The brains behind this year’s killer line-up talks us through the juggling act of being a manager, booking agent, promoter (and casual RSL staffer) all rolled into one.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
I started out volunteering at my local youth centre, helping out at shows and behind the scenes promoting. I started to book shows for mates’ bands and that snowballed into booking at the venue regularly. At its peak I was doing two to three shows a month across a couple of venues on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I then started out booking shows for local mates Perspectives, and then began working with The Sweet Apes and Far Away Stables. Down the line, I moved away from venue booking to focus on management and bookings for the aforementioned bands. In 2013, myself and Eddie Deal (Perspectives/UNFD) created UnFun Festival, a punk/emo/hardcore fest celebrating all things ‘90s and the influence that the music and culture had on today’s bands and fans. 2015 will be the third installment of the fest.
What does your day-to-day job involve?
It all depends on where the bands are at on their particular cycle, and whether UnFun is on cycle. It’s safe to say though that most days throughout the year are spent going through and completing tasks off a list I’ve made the night before, whether it be sorting out tour bookings, release schedules, accounts or anything else that may come up. Right now, a lot of focus is around UnFun. Given the booking side of the festival is complete, the focus is on marketing/promo and logistics, ensuring that the spread of the festival is thorough across Sydney, as well as ensuring that all behind the scenes aspects are sorted so we run smoothly on the day.
What have been the highlights of your job?
Being able to work with extremely talented and driven individuals that love what they do and are willing to work hard and do anything and everything to try and make a living out of something as fulfilling as music.
Can you describe some of the more trying times you’ve experienced in this job?
It’s a tough slog, especially when pushing down the independent road. Time off is hard to come by, late nights and early starts are a regular occurrence, given the juggling of three to four jobs to make it all financially feasible. A lot of the time there’s disappointment and hurdles that have to be pushed aside, overcome and worked on so they can be bettered and improved the next time. But all in all, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’re currently gearing up for UnFun ’15 and from the poster art alone, it seems like a very nostalgic affair. Can you talk us through the process behind getting this year’s event up and running?
It’s always a blast each year when I get to work on UnFun. From putting together the line-up to all the little things that make up the festival. This year the focus was on not only getting a killer line-up of bands together, but also making sure that the punters experienced a festival. It’s going to be an awesome day of bands and fun, including a Mario Kart Arena, which I’m keen as hell to get up and running. The fest is all about nostalgia and the music and culture that we grew up with, and how that influence shines through today. Now all I need is the Sydney punk/hardcore/emo/acoustic family to turn up and enjoy themselves on November 28th!
What can fans and first-timers expect from this year’s fest?
A little bit of everything. Obviously we have a ripper line-up of bands and acoustic acts, but we’re going the extra mile this year to ensure that there is even more cool shit going on so that you get the all-round boutique festival experience.
Tell BLUNT one thing about your job that most people would never guess.
Doing this job means I have to do other jobs to make it all possible. My weekdays consist of completing all management/booking/UnFun related tasks. My weekends and most weeknights consist of splitting hours working at a local RSL and a Chinese restaurant.
Who has been your favourite artist to work with and why?
It’s impossible to single out a single favourite artist. Each band that I work with is a pleasure to have on board, and they make doing this job all the more enjoyable. The biggest thank you to Perspectives, Ocean Alley, Far Away Stables and The Sweet Apes (RIP).
Sat Nov 28th – The Factory & Fusebox, Sydney (18+)