BABE #270: BRANDY BLAYLOCK - SVP of Event Management, Danny Wimmer Presents
As Senior VP of event management for Danny Wimmer Presents, Brandy oversees project management for all events and festivals with a major focus on marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and fan-facing areas. Her years spent in the event industry paired with her lifelong love of music and dedication to her craft give her invaluable insight into what makes a great event. She uses this knowledge to ensure all DWP events are fun, comfortable and memorable. We’re excited to not only attend Rockville this week, but to spotlight the babes behind the scenes of a badass festival in our very own city.
Hometown: Bristol, Tennessee
Current city: Los Angeles, California
Alma mater: University of Tennessee
Degree: Master’s of Information Science
Very first job: I worked in a Discovery Zone-type indoor playground in high school
Hustle: SVP of Event Management, Danny Wimmer Presents
Babe you admire and why?
Angela Miles-Powell, over at Ticketmaster, is the first person to come to mind. She’s been with that company for more than 25 years and has succeeded and excelled in that corporate structure while maintaining everything that makes her, her. She has an amazing personality and sense of humor, is hard-working, solution-oriented and always feels like she’s supporting you. She’s in your corner. She keeps work in perspective and has a great life-work balance—and she makes it all look effortless.
How do you spend your free time?
I am a huge craft beer fan. I’m constantly seeking out new beer bars and breweries wherever I am: at home in Los Angeles or traveling.
Favorite fictional female character?
C.J. Cregg, from “The West Wing.” Her character is so relatable. She’s smart, kinda goofy, insanely good at (and dedicated to) her job, she knows when she’s being treated differently than the men around her and struggles with that in a very real (if moderately dated at this point) way. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone like that on TV until that show. Even rewatching it more than 15 years later, there’s a lot that still rings true.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
The oldest dry-aged steak I could find, plus a side of sautéed spinach and a glass of red wine.
What’s something you want to learn or master?
I’d love to be able to make killer cocktails. I’m absolutely in awe of mixologists and bartenders.
What’s something most don’t know about you?
I went to school to be a librarian.
Tell us about your hustle.
My company, Danny Wimmer Presents, produces about eight festivals every year, mostly in the hard rock and metal genres. I generally oversee project management for each show with major focuses on ticketing, marketing, sponsorship and fan-facing areas.
What does your typical workday look like?
I’m a total morning person, so my day starts around 5:30 a.m. with an hour or two of catching up on emails and sales reporting. I head into the office around 9:00 a.m. and typically spend most of the day in touch-bases and meetings with my staff and other departments in the company. I definitely wear that “project manager” hat most of the day, following up on deadlines and status updates and helping other people with decisions or issues. Late afternoon through early evening is really my time to dig in on specific tasks. I manage and execute ticketing and access management for our shows, so being able to dig in on a credential order or work on building a new show in our ticketing system happens late in the day.
Have you always had a passion for music?
Yes! I think live music is religion. It can invoke so much energy, and emotion, and spirituality. I grew up in the Southeast and literally in church. Those feelings from old Sunday-morning hymns are so similar and familiar to what I still feel at a great show. There’s a straight through-line for me. Growing up, I honestly had no idea you could have a job in the concert industry unless you were a musician. I was very lucky to move to Knoxville, Tenn. where AC Entertainment is based. Having an amazingly strong promoter in a small market like that was really the only way I could have had the opportunity to get into the industry. I started working for them part-time while still in school, and when I realized that there were true career-long options out there, I was sold.
What’s your approach to staying organized?
I’m very timeline oriented. I assign everything a due date, even if it doesn’t intrinsically have one. Big or small, easy or hard, I attack my to-do list in a due-date order.
What are the building blocks of a great event?
Most fans will tell you it’s all about the music, so the lineups, and scheduling, and production are super important for our shows. But for me, since I work in the most direct fan-facing areas, I think the intangibles are the true foundation to a great show. Fans’ first touches with us need to be flawless—our website, our ticket purchase process, any interaction with our social media or customer service staff and our security staff at the festival gates. These are things I work on planning and executing to the highest standard year-round. Cultivating that sense of pride and excellence in the “less sexy” areas of our business is what drives me day-to-day.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
I’m not big into titles (honestly), but being promoted to SVP at Danny Wimmer Presents was huge. We need more female representation at the executive level in the concert industry, and being able to be part of that forward movement felt great to me.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I’ve definitely had major issues with pay and work equality in this industry, and those inequalities being masked in different ways (for example, box office and customer service, which are traditionally female-led, not being valued overall by a company as compared to booking or operations, which are traditionally male-led roles). I also struggle with the more subtle expectations to always be smiling and happy and bubbly. We’ve all been there: If you aren’t smiling, someone tells you to smile, or assumes you’re in a bad mood. For me, helping expose, remove and discredit some of that more subtle sexism will be the next great step towards a more inclusive environment for women in the concert (and any) industry. In my experience, the ticketing and box office world is very balanced. From general selling staff up to managers and directors, I see men and women in all roles. I’d say the same for festivals and promoters I’ve worked for: men and women feel equally represented in numbers. I’ve been fortunate enough to see lots of awesome, strong women represent in areas that, maybe traditionally, aren’t considered inclusive areas—site, operations, booking, etc. The area where I don’t see it evolving rapidly enough is the executive level.
What’s your biggest strength in your role? What’s the skill you most need to improve upon?
It’s probably one in the same: I’m very approachable and down-to-earth. I think that’s a massive strength. It inspires trust and confidence in staff; I’m in your corner and always there to rely on. But, it can also make it difficult when I’m trying to be stern or discipline someone.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Be yourself and be true to yourself! Sometimes we tend to do things because we think it’s what others expect from us. Spend your time and your hustle on things that you want to do. Things that make you feel inspired.
In partnership with: Welcome to Rockville
Welcome to Rockville is an annual festival featuring some of the biggest names in rock and metal music. Hosted by our friends at Danny Wimmer Presents, the ninth annual edition of “Florida’s Biggest Rock Experience” will take place Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5, 2019, at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida.