Here at Blank GC we’ve recently taken onboard an Events Co-Ordinator, who will be working in the role for a six-month period via a Gold Coast City Council Attachments Program. Her name is Kim Ferguson and she comes with quite an industry pedigree, from radio announcer and MC through to interviewing, hosting and running a music venue in Victoria at a young age. Here on the Gold Coast she co-founded the iconic Mo’s Desert Clubhouse in Burleigh Heads, as well as the Beats Cartel booking agency and management company.
Recently she was kind enough to fill us in on her background and what she’ll be involved with as part of her new role. Take it away Kim…
How has your involvement with Blank GC come about?
When COVID hit and my businesses, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse and Beats Cartel, were forcibly closed for the foreseeable future, I figured that I had time to do something for myself, to try some new things. At the same time the council Attachment Program was closing and so I applied for the Events Co-Ordinator position with Blank GC. Through my experience in the industry I have worked alongside Blank in the past, and I saw it as a great opportunity to work directly with the Blank GC team!
What projects are you currently working on with Blank in your role of Events Co-Ordinator? And for how long will you be taking on the role?
We have been working on the Stories In Songs Fireside Sessions that are happening at HOTA this month, with The Oogars and Eddy Ray performing on the 2nd of August. Also, we have another round of the ongoing ‘Industry Mingle’ nights coming up as well. The topics coming up for these mingles are really relevant and exciting for local industry crew – I’m really looking forward to those ones!
How has COVID-19 specifically impacted your work and how you go about it?
There is a lot more online and working in your own time to get things achieved. I have a number of businesses and projects on the go, as well as a young son, so being able to work when and where I can is ideal. Presenting events is certainly different as well, with restrictions on almost everything, including capacity and in turn the ability for businesses to earn. It’s a pretty tough time for venues and artists, so by working with Blank I hope we can support them as best we can through our initiatives.
You’ve had an interesting and diverse work background in the music and creative fields. Which of your roles has been the most personally satisfying and which has been the most challenging?
That’s a tricky question! Each role I’ve had has sort of led into the other. I was fortunate after Uni to get a placement on a commercial radio station, which gave me the passion and skills for MC’ing and hosting. But the music that I had to announce, such as Lady Gaga (and music of that ilk), isn’t really my jam, so that was a challenge! This led me into the Australian music industry on an independent level and owning a music venue in Victoria at a young age really helped me get my head around the scene.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve found is that it’s actually quite a harsh industry – there’s not a lot of support from governments and I think this has a huge impact on people placing value on the arts and music, particularly independent music. Another big challenge that I’ve found across the board is getting people to see that $10 spent on four local bands at a gig is a much better investment than buying two coffees a day.
The biggest thrill is seeing a project you are working on come to life. Beats Cartel, with my partner, grew from one touring band to bringing international artists to Australia each year and working with a bunch of incredible acts in just five years – that has been awesome! Mo’s Desert Clubhouse was an idea I dreamt up with a friend, so transforming our beat-up warehouse into an amazing creative space has been incredible and so bloody satisfying!
As a female in what was previously a very male dominated field, have there been many hurdles you’ve had to overcome that particularly resonate or spring to mind?
Yes there has certainly been times that I have missed out on opportunities or been made to feel undervalued, dumb or small because of my gender. Especially when I was younger. I was sexually assaulted during an MC role a few years ago.
In saying that I’m fortunate to have had incredible males and females around me in my business dealings that are supportive and encouraging for every crazy idea that I have. I think it’s so important to only surround yourself with people who build you up. Regardless of the opportunity, it’s not worth working with someone who doesn’t honestly believe in you or value your work, regardless of gender, race or creed.
My business partners are incredible, along with those festivals and venues who actively support women in the industry; like Pico from Big Pineapple Festival, Ray from Jungle Love Festival, Caroline from Dead Of Winter Festival. It’s these kinda people who value women and who don’t have that sexist old school mentality and this is where I like to apply my skills.
Blank GC is another one of these industry supporters, and the Gold Coast music scene as a whole is largely supportive and inclusive. Have you ever noticed how many venue managers and bookers on the Gold Coast are women? YEAH GIRLS!!