The Class of 2017: Big Weekend

A backstage adventure


Disclaimer: this piece is all based from my own personal experiences and opinions.

The weekend just gone was without a doubt, one of the best of my life; BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend came to my home city of Hull. The event is something I have been looking forward to for months, and I had been lucky enough to be among one of 50,000 people who got a ticket but in the last week I have gone from being a spectator to being backstage and gaining experience in the industry. Over the course of the last seven days, I applied to a new BBC scheme called ‘Class of 2017’ which aims to give young people work experience at the BBC, for which I was a successful applicant and gained a position on the scheme with nine other young people.

My first position over the scheme, working backstage on the Big Weekend with the visual production team; whom are responsible for all the content seen on television, or online. In particular I was working with the team who were responsible for filming and editing the celebrity phone booth videos. If you haven’t already watched them online, the premise is simple; a cream phone box is located in the middle of the festival with no explanation as to why. At a few times throughout the day, either an artist or a presenter made calls to the phone box, to chat with members of the public, offer them backstage tours, present them with challenges or sing down the phone to them. Although everyone working there was extremely busy meeting deadlines which meant that I mostly shadowed them it was still extremely eye opening to see the amount of work that goes into production. Usually when I watch this type of content it’s when I’m on the other side of the screen, not within five meters of the artist.

Over the two days I was backstage I met so many artists that I have been supporting for years, which was so surreal. The highlight was, without a doubt, meeting Shawn Mendes and watching him record an interview and phone box clip with Greg James. I have been a fan of Shawn’s since his days on vine back in 2013, so it was pretty insane to actually meet him. Because of my role backstage had a professional nature I had to conduct myself properly and couldn’t ask for a photo but I can live with the memory of the moment.

Everyone I met were so friendly, from the BBC staff, the security, the Radio 1 DJ’s and the celebrities. The vast amount of hard work put in by everyone has not gone unnoticed, one security lady I was speaking to was in the middle of her second 17 hour shift. She started work at 8 am and got off at 1am the next day and she still managed to have a massive smile on her face. Events like this bring people together through music and atmosphere; it allows people to put their differences aside and celebrate as a group.


On a less serious note, the perks of the position were also a good bonus. I was gifted with a green wristband which allowed me to access the backstage areas including the press area, the queue free bars, the catering tent and most importantly; the clean toilets. I must admit, my friends who attended the festival were getting fed up of hearing me say “yeah backstage the toilets are so clean and nice” after they queued for forty minutes for a tiny portable toilet with no sink. My bragging will probably die down in a few days but right now I’m still loving it.

Without a doubt, one of the best weekends ever. I am so excited for the rest of the Class of 2017 and I’m really hoping that it will open doors for me.











Author: theextranotes

eighteen year old student living in London. posting thoughts on anything and everything. lover of all things extra.

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