Louise joined the Midnight Mango team when the live events industry was in lockdown but in just a couple of years, she has carved out a rewarding role.
Louise, what bought you to Midnight Mango?
I’d completed a Master’s in business music management and, while working for a large promoter, I realised it was the live side of the industry that really fuelled me. I’d been running an Acoustic Corner night at The Grace in London, trying to push it forward but it was a rollercoaster because the world wasn’t in a good place, and no-one knew when it would stop being strange. I knew I needed to adapt.
I saw the freelance opportunity with Midnight Mango and thought it would be a good fit for me. I met Matt and he exuded positive energy and ambition. One thing I found really exciting was that, while most of the music industry was standing still, here was Midnight Mango, out there, thinking ahead, trying to find solutions and break new ground. This positivity energised me because I love to keep learning, adapting and trying new ideas.
“while the music industry was standing still, Midnight Mango was out there, thinking ahead, trying to find solutions and break new ground”
Has that been your experience so far?
100%. My personal growth has been fast-tracked as I’m developing the skills I need to boost my earning potential to get me where I want to be as soon as possible.
I started as a Junior Agent and worked through the structured training because, although I’d been in and around the industry, I hadn’t been a booking agent before. I learned all the basics around booking shows, routing around the UK, contracts, and best practices within the industry on Midnight Mango’s freelance platform before I started booking artists.
I was keen to get to know as many people as possible and Midnight Mango’s industry contacts are second to none. Everyone in the music industry – the artists, the labels, the promoters, the venues – we’re all parts of the same team, so it’s been great getting to know or re-introduce myself to them with my new hat on. We’ve all got lots of ideas and aren’t afraid of giving them a go because we’re all heading in the same direction.
Since starting at Midnight Mango, I’ve worked across a variety of roles to keep me busy and progressing within the company including reporting, communication and general admin – for me this was never going to be a freelance role (it was my calling!), and I was looking for something different to my peers.
In April 2022 I became a full-time booking agent and Midnight Mango employee, and my job satisfaction is now really high.
“my job satisfaction is now really high”
Because I’m selling joy! Who wouldn’t be happy doing that?!
Cable Street Collective were my first act and I’m now working across rock, folk and Americana and, what I like to call, upbeat sunshine festival music! I love my broad roster, it suits me well putting on different hats for different genres and seeing how my artists grow, giving them more clout. It’s very rewarding.
I saw an artist perform in a venue I’ve been to loads of times before and it was the best gig I’d ever seen there – very different, lots of raucous energy. I’m really pleased to say that I now book for this band and I’m giving it my all.
I think it’s also a lot to do with the openness here. I’ve been clear about my ambitions from the get-go and so is everyone here. I feel like everyone is listening and actioning, so I’m constantly moving forward and getting good business opportunities.
Despite working from home, I’ve built up a really good rapport with everyone. I’m very much part of the team and that’s really important to me; I’m a social person and thrive in team scenarios. There’s a really fun atmosphere here. I probably speak more to my Midnight Mango crew than I do my family (sorry Mum!).
Plus I get to go to lots of gigs, festivals and conferences – so many opportunities come up to meet people and these are so valuable. Some people think they’ll be bored or lonely working at home, but I could never use these words to describe my role, so many exciting opportunities come up.
“I feel like everyone is listening and actioning, so I’m constantly moving forward and getting good business opportunities”
Do you think you’d be where you are now if you were working in a big company?
I didn’t make an executive decision to work with a small company over a larger one. I was just looking for the right opportunity. I’m sure I wouldn’t have got all the support and development I’ve received here at one of the industry’s bigger players. I needed support and I got it! Here, my hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
What skills do you need to thrive as a booking agent?
Aside from a passion for music, you need to be a strong people person because you’ll be chatting to artists, promoters and festival organisers all the time. In this industry, everyone has so many ideas but you can’t accommodate all of them, so you also need negotiation skills to navigate these situations and fight the right fight for your artists.
Of course, you also need to be able to pitch effectively. That doesn’t mean you have to be cutthroat, just to have the ability and determination to plough on, even when people say no.
If you’re starting out, my advice would be to do your research and ask as many questions as possible – ours is a really open industry.
Who would you love to have on your roster?
My Chemical Romance
First festival: T4 on the beach at Weston Super Mare
First gig: Kids in Glasshouses at The Astoria
Best gig (so far): I’m shocked to say this but Gorillaz at Primavera… not being their biggest fan initially… I was expecting a so, so show, but they blew me away with their multi-faceted live show!