England success leads to award win for talented Bucks graduate

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Date: 17th Dec 2018

The England football team's success in the World Cup had an inspiring effect on a BA (Hons) Music and Live Events Management graduate and has led to him winning a prestigious industry award.

Conor Burns came up with the idea to rename the Twitter feed for this year’s Truck Festival in Oxfordshire the Gareth Southgate Festival to match the national mood of celebration.Conor Burns

Conor and Broadwick Live, his event management company, won the Smart Marketing Campaign at the Independent Festival Awards in Sheffield for their idea.

Describing how it came about, Conor said: “After literally dancing in the streets after Eric Dier scored the incredible winning penalty against Colombia, on the stumble home I thought the only way I could honour my hero at that exact moment in time was to change Truck Festival's Twitter name to the Gareth Southgate Festival.

“We also put out the tweet, ‘We're changing the name of our festival to celebrate the fact football is definitely on its way home’.

“I had a flutter of texts that night, but when I woke in the morning, it was crazy. BBC Radio 6 Music had picked it up, I had interview requests from Gigwise, and the NME had written about it.

“It was, and still is, a great exposure exercise for Truck Festival, both for getting our name out there but for expressing the personable brand we really want to get across.

“It had the highest engagement rate than most posts had at that time and led to an increase in website traffic.

“Winning this award gave me a healthy mix of elation and shock. The fact it was deemed 'Smart' is amazing to me and to think that my greatest achievement had come after a night out.”

Conor heads up the majority of all Truck Festival marketing activity, and also works at other events, as well as artist liaison at Printworks London most weekends.

Gareth Southgate Festival

“I look after all digital, social media, communications, PR and any advertising,” added Conor. “I do a lot of marketing plans and working with our in-house designer on briefs to for anything we put out. I also get a say on line-ups too.

“I love it. It really is a dream job. I have been involved since an intern 2014 and being at the helm of one of the longest running festivals in the country and building a brand that it deserves is tricky, but I love every second.

“I definitely wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Bucks. It really does prepare you for working life and covers such a plethora of subjects I still refer back to today.

“The work experience gained was definitely the most useful and the encouragement to find my own.

“In my third year, I was lucky to get one of the two placements at The SSE Arena Wembley and essentially be a fly-on-the-wall but as a guy so keen on greenfield festivals, the inner workings of venues was something I had never really considered.

“However, these skills are part of my arsenal when I'm working at Printworks, for example.”

Senior Lecturer Paul Fields said: “I was particularly pleased to see Conor’s great work recognised with the award.

“His  innovative approach to marketing became apparent during his second year, most notably when he set up his own crowdfunding gig website and, later, played a crucial role in our annual Bucks Live event, both of which were assessed as part of his course.

“It’s great to see those experiences translating into real-world success. Well done Conor!”

Bucks New University is part of UK Music's Music Academic Partnership and Conor was among graduates shortlisted for the Outstanding MAO Graduate Contribution to Music Award 2019 in recognition of his career to date.

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