Daan de Bruijn has been riding the music industry wave for a while now. He currently works as the Marketing & Promotions Manager for festivals at Friendly Fire. How did he get there? And what does he do in his role now? We’re about to find out. Tune in.
You’re a Marketing & Promotions Manager at Friendly Fire. What does Friendly Fire do?
Friendly Fire is a booking agency and festival organizer (Best Kept Secret, Indian Summer, Tuckerville and more). We’re actively booking a variety of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Kensington, Phoebe Bridgers, Krezip and we create entire shows in the Ziggo Dome, Johan Cruijff Arena or AFAS Live. Next to that, we also manage a few artists.
And what does it mean to be a Marketing & Promotions Manager?
I’m the Marketing & Promotions Manager for our festivals. That means my focus is on festivals and their online and offline branding. Social media, website, content, post designs, press releases, mailings and more. Next to that, I’ll service all stakeholders: from the print shop to ticketing services. Everything marketing and communications related regarding festivals is my responsibility.
Tell us how you ended up at Friendly Fire:
Once upon a time, when I was a student, I really wanted to become a radio DJ. So I signed up for a student radio station, as part of my education (I’ve studied at Fontys Academy for the Creative Economy). After that, I applied for an internship at Dutch national radio station NPO 3FM. I didn’t get the job, but I did get transferred to an internship at the NPO Events Management division. That’s where I first fell in love with event management.
After my internship I got asked back for a few events, finished school at VPRO (a part of the NPO) with a thesis about podcasts and when I started looking for a job I became an Event Manager at NPO Radio 2. When I was looking for a job after NPO Radio 2, I got a call from somebody I had worked with at NPO 3FM and told me a ‘friend’ (Roosmarijn Reijmer) of his was looking for a Marketing Assistent. A week after our interview I started working at Friendly Fire and two weeks later I set foot at Best Kept Secret festival.
What is a funny festival or concert story you’ve experienced?
During a festival we always try to shoot the best images, so we can use them in our marketing campaign for next year. Usually we take pictures of the water around golden hour. So on the Sunday of Best Kept Secret, I was out on the water with our photo- and videographer and at that moment Stu Mackenzie (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s frontman) called out that he wanted to go crowdsurfing to the lake for a refreshing dive. So we immediately went there and tried to capture everything as well as we could. Those photos were eventually used to announce the new date for Best Kept Secret 2023 on the screens by our main stage with a slogan formed by me: “Thanks for being part of our secret”.
The beauty of this memory was that everything came together in a spontaneous moment. It was really ’the right people at the right time at the right place’. You can’t direct something like that.
What do you love about working in the music industry?
It’s truly a family. Everybody keeps in touch and if you’re at a show or festival you can count on seeing people in the industry to have a moment to connect.
Tell us your favorite thing about your job:
Creative thinking and advising across different divisions within Friendly Fire. It’s really a team effort, so sometimes I get asked about what I think about a certain artist and on what stage I think the artist belongs.
Secondly, seeing an idea become reality! Seeing something you’ve been planning for years or the better part of a year come to life is truly amazing.
Annnnd, you probably saw this coming. What is something you struggle with in your job?
Managing the social community (social media comments) when they’re negative. These negative comments can influence your own thoughts about the experience and make you question if what you’re doing with the festival is the right thing. When I get overwhelmed like that I ‘switch off’ for a second to walk across the festival and look at all the people that are enjoying themselves. And it’s important not to forget that negative comments can lead to feedback that helps us improve in the future. If something is actually wrong, we’ll start working on a solution right away.
We absolutely need to know more about your best gig yet.
2022’s Best Kept Secret, for sure. Partly because we didn’t have festivals and live music for two years due to COVID, but also because things feel ‘new’ again and you have to figure out what’s changed in the world of event management and make that work. After we did that, it really felt like such a rush. As I was looking at people coming through the festival gate again after two years of struggle, I got so emotional. We DID it! We made it work. And I’m so glad we did. No more crisis management 😉
What are you personally looking forward to music wise?
Seeing Jack White at AFAS Live! I’ve been a fan of The Raconteurs, The White Stripes and Jack White for a long time. It’ll be amazing to see them live again. Did you know he never has a set list? So you’ll never know what you’re going to hear. The band just follows Jacks (real name: John) lead when he starts a song, haha.
Did you have a #fail moment?
Oh, yes, so many. Haha. There’s so many essential tasks that need to happen at the same time. It’s not possible to remember all of them, so in order for me to not forget anything I’ve realllly learned to create lists and stick to them. For instance: your packing list for a festival (especially if you’re one of the organizers – you can not be the one to forget something!).
Any big dreams?
Creating something from nothing, marketing wise, and becoming successful with the thing I’ve created.
Do you have any tips and tricks for people who’d love to join the music industry?
Gain experience. Preferably already when you’re still in school. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bar keep at a venue somewhere, or if you’re hanging coats: there’s all sorts of interesting people working at various places and levels in the industry that can help you take your career further.
Next to that, the music industry can be quite the party scene. That’s part of the fun, but try to stay focused and see that as an opportunity to create new connections with new people. Parties are a part of the job, and that’s how you should treat them.
And some tips for becoming a Festival Marketeer?
First of all: create a vision for how you want something to look and read. This way you’re able to brief everybody you’re working with (designers, writers) to eventually have the outcome you’re looking for.
Next to that it’s important to be flexible. Sometimes you’re going to need to put in an hour extra outside of office hours to get the job done. And let’s not forget about being a good writer.
But being a good festival marketeer is really something you mostly learn by doing. I’ve learned things that I otherwise wouldn’t have by actually experiencing the festival itself.