As we continue our ongoing series of staff interviews to reveal what goes on behind-the-scenes at Ticketmaster UK, we chat with Jon Page to find out more about his role at the company.
Tell us your story – how did you end up as a Senior Field Engineer at Ticketmaster?
I joined the Ticketmaster team in 2011 as a contractor, brought in to work The Open Championship. I was then called back in 2012 – Olympic year – to cover the summer. After three years of contracting with Ticketmaster the Senior Engineer decided to leave, and in 2015 I took over his role and have been here ever since.
What did you do previously?
I have always been involved in IT support, but previously in more of a staff support capacity; this role is a lot more hands on and as the title suggests, very field based!
Can you explain a normal day in the office for you?
Similar to a lot of people at Ticketmaster HQ, there is no such thing as a normal day! One day we can be in the middle of a field in rural Oxfordshire, and the next day back London in the office, at a theatre or a football stadium.
Summer is effectively two jobs in one – half the time we are prepping for an event later in the year, and during the other half we are either loading a van, checking equipment or supporting on site.
I tend to average around 10 days a month in the office during the summer festival season.
What has been your favourite show, tour or festival to work on?
It’s got to be the Champions League final this year at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff!
UEFA wanted an increased level of support due to the nature of this amazing one-day event where they practically shut down the whole of Cardiff! That was an awesome event to work on because it was a one-off and the whole team went into the stadium at halftime to watch the rest of the match, so that topped off a pretty awesome experience.
I also must mention the Olympics! That was an extraordinary event to work on because the setup varied from event to event – you truly felt like you were part of history.
Did you employ extra staff for the Olympics?
Yes, we had roughly 50 different people going to venues and sites to set things up, some sites were only up for one day, so there were a lot of contractors on call, and we have a great network of extended support during extraordinarily busy times!
Biggest challenge to date?
As a company, we have more festivals now than we’ve ever had and that reflects on how much our team has grown over the past couple of years to deliver them across the entire country.
The biggest challenge couldn’t be limited to one event. The Rugby World Cup due to its scale and high-profile nature was a real challenge – but we got through it and delivered an exceptional tournament.
A big challenge this year was removing all of our IT equipment from White Hart Lane at the end of the season. We had to de-install over 300 pieces of equipment in a very limited timescale, after the end of the last match and closing party, and before the construction teams started the following morning – that was a rather busy all-nighter!
What is the most exciting part of being a Senior Field Engineer?
It’s got to be when you are at the gate or door at the beginning of an event or festival. There are thousands of fans eager to come in, you have all the management and promoters behind you waiting, and you know that it’s all relying on your technology. There is a daunting moment between when you’ve tested the access control system, to when you hear that first bleep from the scanner – you get a bit of a nerve-racking rush from it!
What are you listening to at the moment?
I have a rather eclectic taste, but mostly R&B and hip hop. I am more into listening to sport on the radio though!
How does the team work together to get through the summer?
The team works crazy hours, basically giving up their weekends and summers in order to deliver all the events and festivals. We have also this year started an apprenticeship scheme. This was introduced because, as this is quite a unique job, you’ve got to have a general knowledge of IT, a driving licence and a good work ethic. We launched this scheme to get the apprentices on the path early so we can teach and train them in the hopes they stay on and move up the ranks.
And finally, what live event are you most excited for in 2017?
Wilderness festival this weekend, it’s a quite a relaxed festival. We’re using the new Front Gate scanners here too which is really exciting.
Any closing remarks?
Our team all works very hard and we couldn’t get through everything without all the hard work everyone puts in, we’re a really tight unit. I’m extremely grateful for how hard my team works to deliver amazing experiences to our fans and clients.
This month we catch up with Matt Buttell, Ticketmaster UK’s Content Manager, to learn about his experiences in the industry – and his love for West End theatre!