The first time I heard of Hannah Suarez I was immediately in awe of her mad organizational and communication skills. Hannah heads up online marketing for two of the major music and cultural festivals in Australia.

I’m not talking just a weekend of shows, but nearly a month of simultaneous festival programming among venues that may be hundreds of miles apart. I was inspired by how Hannah has been using Memolane to tell the story of the Queensland Music Festival and the Brisbane Festival, and was able to get her to sit down with me for a quick Q&A to share some of her festival social media wisdom.

1) Can you tell me a bit about how you got into the music festival business and describe your position at the Queensland Music Festival and Brisbane Festival?

For QMF, my focus is on social media. The Queensland Music Festival is interesting in that it is a broad festival with events not only in the state’s capital – Brisbane – but also in regional and remote areas.

For the Brisbane Festival it is more general – online marketing – but with a lean towards social media, especially in the lead-up to and during the Festival.

I got into festivals almost by accident – for my first job in the industry I applied for a position, didn’t get it and they ended up offering me another one which was set up based on the interview.

2) What are some of the challenges that you face as you promote festivals that take place over several weeks in a wide geographic area with multiple types of programming (music, dance, theater, etc.)?

For the Queensland Music Festival (July 15th to 31st, 2011) which took place over a wide geographic area, the challenge was to ensure that events taking place in remote and regional areas have the space, attention, and content on social media.

It was excellent that the staff took up tweeting their journey and their travels in the months and weeks lead up to and during the Festival, especially during the community development phase of an event such as Ailan Kores. It was an interesting exercise in that I physically couldn’t be there so we had to find ways to ensure that this story is being told on social media.

For the Brisbane Festival (September 3rd to 24th, 2011), the challenge is the amount of content, conversations, and so on in the lead-up to and during the Festival – so finding cool apps such as Memolane to capture and aggregate all sorts of content in more interesting and meaningful ways is key.

3) How have you used Memolane to tell the story of the Queensland Music Festival, and how has that experience shaped how you are using Memolane to share the story of the Brisbane Festival?

I was in the middle of QMF when I first found out about Memolane (in fact, we had our first Skype on the night Randy Newman performed at QPAC) and I really liked how the social media elements that we published online can be seen in one link http://memolane.com/qmf.

You can also see the ‘life’ of the Festival online – from the first tweets in 2009, to the development of 2011 Festival early on in the year and the interesting stuff – the 2011 festival itself.

For the Brisbane Festival we are still experimenting with Memolane. I have one other staff member on it and some interns.

4) What social media services are the most vital to promoting music festivals right now, and what services do you see becoming more important in the near future?

I was in a recent discussion about performer and audience relationships, and I have found that music festivals are more open to be interactive with their audience, in terms of social media. There is also the discussion around social media etiquette as well in festivals and events, which is probably another discussion.

5) In your opinion, what are the key components for creating a great Memolane for a music festival?

Have lots of visual content in the lead-up to, during, and after the festival.

6) Is there any song that would inspire you to friend someone on Memolane if you saw it in a Last.fm memo on their lane?

Not any particular song, but if I saw Randy Newman on someone’s Memolane…

7) Where can the Memolane community find out more about the Queensland Music Festival and the Brisbane Festival and check out the sights and sounds of the events?

Queensland Music Festival: www.qmf.org.au | www.memolane.com/qmf

Brisbane Festival: http://www.brisbanefestival.com.au | http://www.memolane.com/brisfestival

8) Could you share with me what you are listening to now (w/ link)?

“Worlds Converged” by Midnight Juggernauts YouTube | Spotify | SoundCloud

This blog post is part of our Events on Memolane series, highlighting event organizers and promoters creating great things with Memolane.

- Meghan