Steph Van Spronsen is part of the awesome team of promoters who book acts from across the world for you to see at Download every year.
In Meet the Download Festival Team, we catch up with Steph as she gives you the inside scoop on how the team book the Download line up, what it’s like to work with the legend that is Andy Copping as well as sharing her wrestling alter-ego. Steph, stand up! \m/
What does your job involve on a daily basis?
I have a lot to keep me busy with on a day-to-day basis as alongside Download Festival, I’m constantly working on other tours and shows in the UK. As well as helping to book the festival, I also assist in arranging the campsite and RIP entertainment, collating all of the artist images and assets we need for the website and other marketing tools, and processing all artist contracts.
We aim to have a team catch-up at least once a week on Download matters. I generally make sure everyone in our extended team is kept up-to-date with our line up and announcement plans to make sure everything runs smoothly.
How far in advance do you start booking bands for Download?
Andy leads the charge on this one as he books the headliners, but I would say we all come together about 9-10 months in advance to start putting together our ‘wish list’ for the rest of the festival.
How do you decide on which bands to book for the festival?
There are so many factors to take in to account when we come to book our line-up – almost too many to explain, to be honest! At the beginning, it is a mixture of what has been submitted to us by agents and personal choice.
We like to make sure the line-up has a good ‘flow’ where possible with different genres etc. Obviously, we are aware our fans have an eclectic taste in music and like different kinds of rock and metal, so we like to make sure there is something for everyone.
I would ask people to keep in mind that just because a band isn’t playing the festival, doesn’t mean we didn’t ask them to.
What’s it like working with the legend that is Andy Copping?
What do you do when you’re working on site at the festival?
The great thing about our jobs is that most of our work is done by the time we get on site for the festival. We get to enjoy the fruits of our labour and make sure everyone is happy and enjoy the acts we have booked.
When was your first Download Festival and what bands did you see?
I think I won VIP tickets at a rock club in London in 2006 and that was the first time I went. I remember the weather was glorious! It feels like so long ago and I can’t remember a huge list of the bands I saw, however I do remember that the second stage was in a tent at that point though. It got so busy for The Prodigy that the walkway to the stage had to be closed as there were just too many people trying to go and watch them. RIP Keith – you will be terribly missed.
I do also remember seeing Exit Ten, Enter Shikari, Atreyu and Funeral For A Friend (I was a big emo – fringe and everything) and that I had just heard of this really new band called Bring Me The Horizon, who were actually camped right near me.
What do you love most about your job?
I love getting to work with so many bands that I am a genuine fan of, but I also love the feeling of seeing thousands of people enjoy something that we have created. Sometimes the job can be very stressful, but it really makes it all worthwhile when I look out from the stage and see so many people with smiles on their faces as they sing along. Download really is a family and I love that feeling.
What’s been the highlight of working for Download Festival so far?
Just working on the festival as a whole is a highlight in itself. Let’s rewind back to that 2006 Download festival, if I told little emo Steph she’d be helping book the festival one day – she would have lost her tiny mind.
What bands are you most looking forward to watching at Download 2019?
NXT UK is coming to Download 2019, which NXT UK superstar are you most looking forward to seeing in the ring?
I actually worked as the promoter for NXT UK in 2018. I know a few of the superstars quite well already and I know how much they all love Download – you might even find a few of them in the crowd watching the bands. I am excited for Walter’s Download debut, though.
If you were a wrestler, what would your name be?
Funny story – my colleagues already named me ‘The Dutch Destroyer’ – although I may have to face Aleister Black for that title (which I wouldn’t be mad about haha).
What’s the funniest story you can share about working for Download Festival?
Probably the time we made the Download Dog do a heavy metal spin class.
What advice would you give to anyone who’s aspiring to become a promoter?
My advice is to work hard and just aim to make as many relationships and contacts as you can within the industry. I started promoting over 10 years ago but then fell into a different career in music, that time allowed me to build a huge amount of strong relationships, which has made my transition to promoter at Live Nation a more natural progression.
Just who is the Download Dog?
He’s the Download Dog! What do you mean who is he? I know he’s a bit bigger than most dogs, but don’t mention it to him – he can get a bit sensitive about it.