Rob My Job: Jamie Tagg, Mighty Hoopla

The series explores the progression of music industry professionals from their start to where they are now, continuing with Mighty Hoopla's co-founder and festival director

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Starting his career as a club promoter in Swansea whilst a student, Tagg booked the likes of Florence & The Machine, Chase and Status and Two Door Cinema Club during his spell as the University’s ents manager.

After several years as a venue manager in Cardiff and then a talent agent in London, representing mainly Radio 1 DJs, he joined forces with Glyn Fussell, the co-founder of Sink The Pink to create East Creative Ltd, a creative agency that works with international brands such as YSL, Agent Provocateur, Google and collaborates with artists such as Little Mix, Sophie Ellis Bextor and P!nk.

In 2015, Tagg and Fuseell, co-founded Savage Disco, a 500-cap queer club night which took place in East London’s iconic strip club Metropolis, that ran at capacity every Saturday for 4 years.

In 2016, East Creative partnered with DJ and broadcaster Fearne Cotton to set up Noisy Kitchen, a commercial talent agency that today boasts the likes of Melanie C, Reggie Yates, Kate Nash and Gok Wan on the roster.

Today, Tagg is the festival director and co-founder of Mighty Hoopla, a two-day, 30,000-capacity pop festival in South London attracting headliners such as Nelly Furtado, Kelly Rowland and Jessie Ware. Here, he speaks on how he got to where he is in the latest edition of Rob My Job.

How did you get into the music industry?

Like a lot of people I started off working in pubs, bars and nightclubs and quickly took more of an interest in putting on nights rather than serving drinks. After a few failed club nights of my own, I started promoting live shows at Sin City in Swansea before becoming Ents Manager at the uni which introduced me to a lot of tour bands and agents.   

Who were your mentors along the way?

I’m still in contact with the guys that showed me the ropes in Swansea and I’ve learnt a lot from different people along the way but I’ve never really had a mentor as such during my career. 

What led you to co-found Mighty Hoopla?

In 2012, I met Glyn and Amy from Sink The Pink and after a year of working together, we decided to set up our own talent and DJ agency, representing talent and brands like Guilty Pleasures and Rebel Bingo among others. This opened up a world of bookings and it was the collaboration between Sink The Pink, Guilty Pleasures & Rebel Bingo that actually led to the first Mighty Hoopla in Bognor Regis! When one of our co-founders, Johnno Burgess managed to get us a Sunday show in Victoria Park in 2017 and the festival was born. 

“I like to not think as a mistake as such but more of a lesson learned"

What does the job of festival director entail?

My role is pretty much to be across everything, across the board – from ticketing to marketing and bookings to production. We have a fantastic team behind the scenes at Mighty Hoopla so my role is really to help link all these departments up and give them the opportunity to do their best work. 

What are the key strengths and skills that help you excel in this role?

Working a lot of roles in nightlife (DJ, photographer, barman, promoter, venue manager) has really helped me understand the different pressures that all my team face, as well as the skill sets needed to do them. I’d like to think that after 15 years I have a pretty good eye for talent too!

Tell us about a mistake you’ve made on the job.

Goodness, how long have you got?! I like to not think of anything as a mistake as such but more of a lesson learned… In the early years, we tried doing everything ourselves rather than collaborating with other people. The day we stripped back all our projects, put our egos aside and just focused on making Mighty Hoopla the best show it can be, we never looked back. 

What advice could you give to someone hoping to break into the festival sector?

There are a huge amount of jobs within the festival world, so don’t be scared to give a few a try. Having a wide knowledge about all the cogs that make up a festival will really help you appreciate what role you want to take up further. For years I wanted to be an events photographer, then a venue manager, then a talent manager, then an agent. And they acted as a brilliant stepping stone for me.

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