Student Success Story: Growing a Festival & Securing Arts Council Funding

From Volunteering to Festival Director: Sam's Journey

Meet Sam Pagett, one of our awesome alumni who’s turned her love for events into a successful career. Sam’s story is seriously inspiring for anyone dreaming of breaking into the event scene. Sam’s journey from a volunteer at a small festival to the director of a thriving 2000-person event is one such inspiring tale. We caught up with Sam in the first episode of the Event Crowd podcast, where she shared insights into her experience with our Event Management course, her reflections on the events industry, and her remarkable achievements with Wizzafest.

Finding Her Path into Event Management

Sam’s journey started with a love for festivals and events. Despite taking a break to travel and explore other career paths, her passion for events remained unwavering. “I find myself most alive and into myself when I’m at an event.” Embracing her dyslexia as a strength, Sam found her knack for big-picture thinking, a valuable asset in the events industry. After years of diverse experiences, including volunteering at events and managing a content writing agency, she decided to dive back into event management.

Getting Qualified in Events Management

Getting qualified in Event Management

When it came to leveling up her event skills, Sam found Event Crowd. “I stumbled upon this course while thinking about a master’s degree. Event Crowd had everything I needed: flexible, comprehensive, and tailored just for event management.” Through the course, she gained valuable insights, refined her skills, and found clarity in her career direction.

Sam highlights the importance of also networking and utilising platforms like LinkedIn to connect with industry professionals. 

Course Highlights and Real-World Application

The course curriculum provided Sam with practical tools and knowledge applicable to her role as the director of Wizzafest. “The course gave me so many tools and templates, I even used it as a blueprint for managing Wizzafest.” From event management plans to marketing strategies, each module contributed to her professional growth. Sam’s experience with the course’s assessment pieces, particularly designing a three-day festival, helped to professionalise her event management approach, ultimately contributing to securing Arts Council funding.

Challenges and Triumphs in Event Management

Growing a festival comes with its challenges. Sam emphasises the importance of having a unique selling point and fostering inclusivity within events. Wizzafest’s organic growth stemmed from its focus on creating a safe, inclusive space for attendees. Looking ahead, Sam envisions Wizzafest as a model for inclusive events, transcending physical accessibility to embrace social and environmental inclusivity. Her passion for creating shared experiences drives her mission to build a vibrant community around Wizzafest.

Advice for Aspiring Festival Directors

For students aspiring to start their own festival, Sam offers invaluable advice: “Start small, and make sure that you can handle the challenges that come with it. Once you have a grasp of the basics, you can scale up.” Sam talks about the importance of understanding the audience and crafting an experience that resonates with them.  Whilst also the significance of perseverance, resilience, and a genuine passion for creating memorable events. As she puts it, “If it’s fueled from a genuine place, then success will follow.”

You can watch the full interview on our YouTube channel here, or listen to the podcast here.

For those eager to experience Wizzafest firsthand, tickets are available for purchase on their website.

Find out more about our event management courses by downloading our brochure, or book in a call if you want to have a chat. 

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