I met Anjel last year when we were both working at the Tour Link Pro conference. I was volunteering at registration and Anjel was managing social media for the event. We both also attended the first Women in Touring Summit that was organized alongside Tour Link Pro.
We reconnected with Anjel at the second Women in Touring Summit in LA back in January. Not only is Women in Touring connecting women like me and Anjel but they’re also offering great initiatives and tools for fellow women in the industry. During the industry blackout, they, for example, organize Zoom meetings as part of their Women in Touring Mentorship Program. During the first one, while five of us were sharing our quarantine experiences, Anjel was kind enough to say yes to my interview invite.
Anjel works as a touring Production Coordinator and VIP Coordinator. Both of these roles have different tasks and responsibilities, the first one leaning towards production and crew needs and the other one concentrating on fans, but they are both equally important in larger productions and tours. This is Anjel’s story.
Hi Anjel! What do you do in the music industry?
I work as a freelance touring Production and/or VIP Coordinator, depending on the tour. As a Production Coordinator, I’m essentially handling the touring crew and production needs, advance hospitality and catering for the crew & talent, do some data entry/scheduling, and other various tasks like assign dressing rooms, hang signage, manage a runner, and general problem solving as things come up on show day.
When I’m a VIP Coordinator, I’m executing VIP programs for the artists I’m working for. This could be meet & greets, a VIP party, a sound check experience, or something else that gives the fans a more premium experience. With this role I typically advance all elements of the VIP (location, food & beverage menus, security, etc.), manage a budget, hire local staff to assist me in every city, and make sure the fans are getting the VIP experience they have paid for and expect.
How did you end up working as a Production and VIP Coordinator?
I went to college for a BA in Live & Performing Arts Management which definitely sent me into the right direction for where I’m at now career-wise. I don’t think college is really necessary in this industry, but in my case, I grew up in a really small town in Arkansas and didn’t have much connection to the music industry, bands, or music growing up so I was lacking a network. Going to an art school in a big city helped me build that network which I find to be essential to this industry, and I was able to grow from there. College led me to internships with local promoters, which led me to working festivals and meeting even more live events folks, and that eventually got me to touring.
What is the best thing about your work and on the other hand, the biggest challenge?
My favorite thing about touring is the friendships I’ve established with some of my crew, and the ability to travel the world while working. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met on the road, and I’ve been to places I would have never imagined at this point in my life.
I’d say the biggest challenge is a work-life balance. It’s hard maintaining relationships at home, missing important dates and holidays, and overall having any kind of routine while being on tour. It’s a big sacrifice, to give up “normalcy,” but I’m trying to be much more intentional about the time I spend on myself and the people I love.
How is the Coronavirus affecting you and your work?
COVID19 has essentially taken away any prospect of touring and event work within the music industry until we are allowed to have large gatherings again, which is a scary thought. I have devoted all of my education and professional years to this career, so even the thought of having to do something else is intimidating. There’s no real estimation on when exactly we’ll be able to get back to work, but at this point, until there is a vaccine, I think our industry will be on hold. I also personally live with someone immunocompromised, so getting a job with other humans right now isn’t really in the cards for me. It’s overwhelming to say the least.
Your best survival tip for fellow people in the industry in this situation?
Quite honestly, this has definitely taken a toll on my mental health, and I’m finding getting motivated to do…anything, difficult. The thing that has helped me the most is trying to keep a routine (I use a planner), and I try to get out of my house once a day, whether that’s a walk around my neighborhood or a drive in my car to no specific destination.
Staying connected with other people in the industry, joining in on industry related Zoom conference calls, and just keeping up with friends in the touring community has really helped keep me sane through this. We’re all going through the same thing, at the same time. While it’s horrible, there’s also a bit of comfort in not being alone.
Feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, how they can help, etc.
People can find my work and ways to reach me on my website, anjel-lopez.com! I do resume editing/revision as a little side hustle, and plan to launch that a little more properly once I have the details finalized, so if anyone might be interested in that, feel free to reach out and I’ll let you know when I launch. Thanks!
Industry resources during the blackout: Show Maker Symposium provides resources for growth and mental resilience for live music crews. Their weekly live webinars I’m With the Crew can be watched on Youtube.