Building the Big Day Out

In this interview, we show how one man’s passion for the music industry has led to a carer working on some of the biggest festivals and concerts in the country.

Matt Doherty has one of the best jobs in the world: he gets to work on some of the biggest festivals and concerts in Australia, a a Production Manager.

This interview will be shot on location at the Centennial Parklands where Matt’s company, Unusual Company, will be working on the production of the V Festival Concert.

Unusual Company also handles all production for the Big Day Out – the holy grail of live music in Australia!

Production Managers work across a range of events including music festivals, stadium concerts, government-funded festivals (Sydney Festival, Film Festivals etc).

About Unusual Company:

Matt Doherty launched Unusual Company in 2005, after already being the Production Manager of the Big Day Out for over 13 years. They currently have three full time staff, but work with dozens of contractors depending on how big their jobs are.

They have recently diversified considerably, offering ground protection and merchandising services in addition to their production/event management skills.

About Matt:

Matt Doherty’s career began when he started helping bands load equipment at local venues for no money at all. He proved his passion for the industry and was given more and more authority as time went by, learning how to drive trucks, work amps etc. He eventually moved into sound engineering for bands before moving into production management in 1990.

In 1992 he was approached by the owners of Big Day Out to do the sounds design for their first ever festival. In addition, he would also coordinate the production element of the festival. After the event the owners realised just how big the Production aspect of a festival is, and asked Matt to be their Production Manager. He accepted and has had the role ever since.

He’s worked on festivals such as Big Day Out, Homebake and Brisbane’s Livid festival. And he’s worked on some huge international tours for artists such as the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and U2. Big Day Out takes up much of his time. It’s flat out for about 5 months of the year, and the rest of the time he still needs to work on Big Day Out planning, as well as other work he secures for other festivals and events.

He also consults to the government on issues such as crowd control, public safety and event safety. He loves what he does, and believes passionately in the industry. He’s been a vocal supporter of the production and event management industry, and instigated the establishment of PEMAA – the Production and Event Managers Association of Australia – and is currently their president.

He now spends his day not only managing productions, but also consulting with the government and police force (about public safety issues for example), and works with insurance companies (public liability issues).

VJ Bradley Conomy