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Interview: Uğur Yılmaz

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Event coordinator, URU Group-KüçükÇiftlik Park

How did you get into your line of work?
“I joined the team in 2013 after a six-month internship. I’ve been the event coordinator since 2015. My interest in the profession dates further back: I started a band in high school that’s still active, and thanks to that experience, I had inside knowledge of the event industry. After high school, I decided to get a degree in something that had to do with my interest, so I studied Art Management at Istanbul Kültür University.”

You’re able to connect with artists on a personal level. How do you maintain your level of professionalism?
“I’m able to communicate with artists easily since I have a music career of my own. I’m able to understand their needs and make myself understood better. A musician’s mood backstage has a huge influence on how that artist performs onstage, so keeping him or her happy is a priority for any event coordinator.”

People always talk about musicians’ ridiculous demands. Have you ever had that experience?
“Generally speaking, tour managers are our main backstage contacts in communicating with artists. We’ve had strange demands, just as we’ve had very modest requests. Portishead, for instance, is one of the most modest bands to play at KüçükÇiftlik Park. Honestly, it’s easier to work with foreign artists than Turkish ones. Since they constantly perform at top festivals around the world and go on international tours, they’re much more articulate and professional.”

What are the pros and cons of this profession?
“My work schedule is very busy. I remember being awake for 52 hours straight for an event we planned. But if you’re here, it means you love your job – that’s why I wouldn’t trade the excitement after those 52 hours for anything in the world. If the event is one we planned, we’re literally unable to listen to the bands performing onstage, but for those where we’re only the venue and not the organizers, we’re able to monitor things from the audience, so we get to watch the stage.”

Which musicians were the easiest to work with?
“Portishead, The Dø, Alt-J and Skrillex.”

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