#EventProf of the week: Josh Budgen, Versatile Venues

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Each week we will focus on a StandOut individual who has been extraordinary within the events industry. This week it is Josh Budgen, sales and client manager at Versatile Venues.

Josh was nominated by his colleague, Hannah Tate.

How did you get into the events industry?

I first got the events industry itch when at 17 I joined a function band that took me up and down the country performing at various weddings, corporate dos, birthday parties, festivals, and sporting events. We were lucky enough to often be the headline act performing into the small hours. To see the entire event culminating in a sea of happy faces on a packed dancefloor having the time of their life without a care in the world gave me a buzz like nothing I’d ever experienced. But even then I was wondering how much went on behind the scenes to get to this point.

Where has your career taken you and what roles have you enjoyed?

I’ve had a variety of sales or account/client management roles over the years and whilst my offering may have changed in that time, it’s always just been about speaking to people, getting to understand their needs, matching that with the right product, managing their expectations and seeing it over the line, trying to make the whole thing as pleasant an experience as possible in the hope of building a long-term working relationship.

What is it about your job that you love doing?

The variety – from enquiry to enquiry and seeing how that idea comes to life still fascinates me. It might be a new venue, one of our new tech integrations, a brand-new exhibition trailer going live for the first time, but how the event is still seamlessly delivered for the client is a true testament to the brilliant team at Versatile and the pride we take in every project.

What’s been the stand out moment of your career so far? 

I’m only a year into being on this side of the events world, but there have already been so many great moments with more to come I’m sure. One thing that does stand out though is a confirmed booking for two exhibition trailers at an upcoming event in June that all stemmed from a single conversation at the same event in 2023. Admittedly, there was plenty of back and forth following the event, but it was great to get that relationship started with many collaborations already in the planning stages for 2024 and beyond. Another stand out moment was seeing the stage Versatile helped build at Boomtown… I was in awe! I’d heard so much about the festival and how we integrated our media structures from the moment I joined the company, and to see it in the flesh was incredible! To then have the opportunity to show that off to our wonderful clients that we invited across the weekend was great fun.

What’s been your biggest achievement?

It was a privilege to partner with Mental Health UK at Event Buyers Live in November 2023. I think it can be underestimated in the events industry the impact that short deadlines and the resulting high stress can have on an individual’s mental health, as much as we’ll all say how much we love the thrill of it! To work with a great charity and bring that to the forefront of event industry minds was brilliant.

What have you done that you can now look back on and cringe?

In hindsight, visiting our clients at an event that specialises in heavy plant machinery in the middle of a field during a typically wet British summer wearing bright white trainers was a bit of an error.

What key pieces of advice would you give to someone starting in events? 

Two absolutely crucial things spring to mind for this one… Firstly, assume nothing! We know the old adage and what it can do to “u” and “me”, and it might seem like common sense, but I cannot begin to explain just how important this is at every stage of an event from the initial enquiry, to being live, even on the derig, packing down and journey home afterwards. My second piece of advice is that everything is possible, but you must explain the consequences of that decision. Whether that be financial, logistical, or whatever, A, B, and C are certainly achievable, but that will affect X, Y, and Z. I suppose both points fall into a wider conversation about ensuring there is great communication with all parties involved. Running up to an event, even if it feels like you are covering the same ground you covered in the last meeting and there’s no change, speaking openly, covering every detail from the bottom to the top can only be a good thing so that nothing is left to chance on the day.

What career goals do you have and where do you see yourself heading?

There is still so much to learn. Every enquiry, every conversation, every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new in this wonderful world of events that moves quicker than anything I’ve ever been involved with. I want to build that experience and become a trusted, “go-to” point of contact for not only our current clients but many more that I know we can support through 2024 and beyond.

Is there an event that you would love to work on but haven’t?

Whilst Versatile has worked at Boardmasters in the past, this was before my time. I’d love to get back there in a working capacity and be a part of making that event the huge success that it is. Plus, any excuse to get to a Cornish beach is not to be sniffed at!

If you would like to nominate someone for #EventProf of the week, please email marketing@standoutmagazine.co.uk.