A Day in the Festival Life of an Artist Liaison

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at The Bath Festival?  While the festival would have been happening, we’re sharing a series of articles from our festival team and partners to give you some insight into what goes on to make the festival happen! Below is a day in festival life from Artist Liaison, Sara Spratt. If you are able to help the festival continue by donating please click here.

Festival days are always exciting. Your duty may start at the beginning of the day, where there is a real sense of anticipation when you arrive. The venues are being prepared, the Green Room looks great and you’ve got plenty of time to prepare before greeting your allocated artist. Festival ticket holders are starting to arrive and browse the book shop and there’s a real sense of anticipation .

Above image: Mr B’s Festival Bookshop

Depending on your slots, you may arrive later in the day when the festival is in full swing – people everywhere. Sometimes you can be there all day depending on how many guests you are responsible for and just being part of the general buzz and team is thrilling.

So the role of the Artist Liaison is to be ready to meet and greet the guest speaker and escort them to the Green Room. Here they can relax, take stock, check their notes, or catch up with other writers and publicists. Sometimes there’s a mad dash to the changing room with minutes to spare before they’re on stage. Some like to have a bit of a chat, others like to be left to do their own thing. It’s often quite obvious which is which! At some point before the event starts (around 15 minutes) we take them for their sound check on stage and then back again for the start. This is a fun moment. As the doors open you can feel the enthusiastic welcome for the speaker. The room erupts in applause. Usually, as Artist Liaison, we are expected to make a small announcement regarding house keeping and to remind guests that the author will be signing books in the pop up book shop at the venue and that questions should wait until the end.

Above image: The Assembly Rooms filled with an audience eagerly awaiting for the event to start

On some occasions if the event doesn’t have a Chair then we introduce the guest as well. Last year I was delighted to be looking after Melvyn Bragg. It was obvious I was a bit nervous at going on stage to introduce him but he said “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be brilliant” which put me completely at my ease! Lovely moments like this add to the pleasure of being Artist Liaison. I feel very fortunate to hear the wonderful stories being told and to see the reception they get. Watching the autographs being signed and the interaction between the author and customer afterwards is particularly special and often lots of warm exchanges and anecdotes are shared.

Above image: Melvyn Bragg during his book signing at The Bath Festival 2019

I’ve met some really interesting people and made lasting memories.

I can’t wait for the return of The Bath Festival. I look forward to being part of it again.

Sara Spratt, Artist Liaison

We need you help so we can continue to bring the best of music and books to Bath through The Bath Festival and Bath Children’s Literature Festival, as well as our all year-round creative learning outreach programme. Please donate to our #BackBathFestivals crowdfunder campaign.

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