Welcome to Glamour’s weekly column, How I Got My Job, featuring one woman with an amazing job, and the real route to get it. Looking for career inspo? For this week’s instalment, music programmer for Latitude Festival Natasha Haddad shares her CV…
Who? Natasha Haddad, 34.
What? Music programmer for Latitude Festival, responsible for booking the festival’s annual line-up and travelling the world in search of new musical talent.
1996: Education: Helenswood Academy, Hastings
I was born in the US, but my mum is British and wanted to come back when I was 12. I expected school to be like Jane Austen (it wasn’t), and although
I was academic, I left at 15 without any qualifications. My parents weren’t thrilled, but I was headstrong, so there wasn’t much they could do.
1999 – 2001: Waitress, then supervisor, The Beach Club
After leaving school, I moved to Brighton and started waitressing at The Beach Club. I loved the chilled-out vibe and was dedicated to the job. Within eight months I was promoted to club supervisor – managing the bar, stock and staff, and working on some of the UK’s best club nights, such as Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique.
2001 – 2008: Assistant manager, The Belle Vue & other venues
A job came up at a pub owned by the same company as The Beach Club, so
I took it. I worked 70 hours a week to inject some soul into the place. By the time I left (for a job on the promotions side), it had gone from earmarked for closure to the most profitable of the company’s venues.
2006 – 2008: Show rep, The Great Escape Festival
Although I was still working as a club and venue promoter, I was freelance and could manage my own hours, so I took two weeks out to work on the first The Great Escape Festival. I was in charge of one of 30 venues, making sure the bands had everything they needed. I met the manager of Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs and he said, ‘You have it in you to do whatever you want.’ It was a confidence booster.
2008 – 2010: Intern, then festival coordinator, MAMA & Company
After my second year at the festival, the company offered me a three-month internship at their HQ in London. It was unpaid, so I saved for my rent, and worked in a bar in the evenings. Perhaps naively, I had faith that I would be offered a job afterwards. Luckily, I was given the title of festival coordinator, looking after people like Seymour Stein, who discovered Madonna. We’re still in touch today.
2010 – 2012: Music programmer, MAMA & Company
By 2010 I’d been promoted to music programmer, working on the Levi’s One To Watch shows, Lovebox and Wilderness, as well as being head of music at The Great Escape. It was busy and I got to travel to lots of international festivals to meet music agents. South By Southwest, Texas and CMJ Music Marathon, New York are favourites for spotting international talent.
2012 – present: Music programmer, Latitude
I got headhunted for the job at Latitude. Although it didn’t seem like a big career jump, it was daunting, but I knew I could do it. A typical work day is 10am-7pm, plus three evening gigs a week and a festival every month. One of my successes was putting Rudimental and Disclosure high on the 2013 bill, before they made it big.
Natasha’s life lessons
- Keep calm. Last year, one of our headline acts cancelled days before the festival. It was stressful, but thankfully Lily Allen stepped in.
- Do what you love, right now. If I’d gone down the traditional uni path, I might not be where I am today.
- Look after your health. It’s easy to run yourself into the ground. I rely on yoga to keep me positive and give me a fresh perspective.
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