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Backstage Stars – Jacqueline Elder

Backstage Stars
25 June 2019

Jacqueline Elder is the team manager for live entertainment at Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus, which includes The SSE Hydro (cap. 13,000), and is responsible for overseeing event delivery operations within the Campus.  She has worked on concerts with Beyoncé and Take That, and events such as the MTV Awards.

What are your first live music memories?

“My early live music memories are at family parties.  There would always be a lot of music and dancing and by the end of the night, the guitar playing and singing would start. If theatre counts, I also performed in Glasgow pantos as a dancer when I was around six. 

“My dad travelled a lot for work and would often would take me along. In the car, Dad would blast out Van Morrison, Dire Straits and Annie Lennox in the car and I have vivid memories of this time. In fact, a lot of his music went on to influence the bands I now love.

What live music event had the greatest impact?

“My first live concert was Boyzone in our Hall 4 in  1997.  My best friend and I were huge fans in our early teens and managed to get tickets.  I was overcome with excitement even though our tickets put us miles away from the stage, but we didn’t care!  I remember the noise of the fans stomping on the tiered seating and chanting for one more song. It was an amazing first experience. Fast forward 20 years and I was lucky enough to meet the band at their last concert – never thought that would happen.”

How did you get into the entertainment industry?

“I was always involved in some form of theatre or dance productions from a very young age, through school or drama clubs, which led me to study Event Management at university. During this time I started working in the SEC box office covering every gig possible to gain experience in the industry. From that then I was hooked.

“The box office was a hub of activity, whether an on sale day, which attracted masses of fans queuing for tickets, to the show nights with promoters coming and going. It was a great place to start my career and I had fantastic mentors along the way who showed me it could be glamorous and hard work at the same time.   

“This platform gained me exposure to the event planning department, which I subsequently joined, with  my career continually developing and growing with the landscape of not only the SEC Campus, but the changing requirements of the events world.”

What were your greatest low and high points?

“I have always felt very privileged to be a part of this crazy industry and work in such a superb venue. There have been so many high points in my career it is hard to pick just one, but I would have to say event managing the Beyoncé concert at The SSE Hydro.  

“To work with an artiste of that calibre in our new venue was an exciting challenge. We had production on site for, 10 days as it was the start of a new tour. We hosted full rehearsals and live shows working with an artiste and crew that were striving for perfection. I was so proud of our team here to have helped deliver such a world-class show. 

“One memorable moment was when we received an email from a member of the public based in Afghanistan, who wanted to propose to his girlfriend in the empty arena bowl, as their first date was at The Hydro. We managed to creating an elaborate hoax whereby the fiancée-to-be thought she had won tickets and a backstage tour of The Hydro, We flashed-up his proposal on our arenamation.  Thankfully she said ‘yes’.  

 “This job brings new challenges every day, but problem-solving is my favourite part of the job – I try to view the tough days the same way and try not to see them as low points.” 

Where do you see the industry going?
“The future is all about the experience. No longer is a concert simply listening to a band play on stage – It’s a full-blown journey. New technologies are changing what this experience will look like and the industry will need to be open to interacting with their audiences, and incorporating what can be achieved and what the fans want.  

“Of course, one of the biggest challenges that we face not only as a venue but as an industry, is security. Our main focus is looking after the welfare of all our visitors in a way that does just that, whilst not impacting on their enjoyment.”  

How do you unwind?

“I love my holidays, particularly TO the Canary Islands and travelling across Florida. I also have regular city breaks with my girlfriends to unwind, And I love a bit of theatre, probably a throw back from my childhood.

 “I’m married to Mark and we are proud parents of our boys – Calvin the golden retriever and Gabe the crazy cat..

 “My other passion in life is fitness, I start every day with a workout.  This is time that’s just for me and my music, pushing myself to see what I can achieve, it sets my mind up for the day ahead.” 

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