In our latest Graduate Spotlight, we introduce Brittany Melly, a 2011 graduate from the University of Derby’s BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology program. Hailing from Dunstable, Brittany’s journey led her to Derby, where she embarked on her studies with a love for live music events. However, her path evolved as she discovered her passion for managerial roles in events, leading to a diverse career spanning faculty conferences, live music venues, outdoor events, and festivals. With her own company, Mellyvents Ltd, founded in 2021, Brittany’s narrative reflects her growth and adaptability in the dynamic world of event management. Her experiences underscore the importance of connections and initiative in the industry, and she now aspires to expand her company and build a dedicated team to support a greater number of events.
Brittany Melly, Class of 2011
Current job + employer:
Director of my own company – Mellyvents Ltd
What did you do/study prior to coming to Derby?
I went straight from sixth form to university, after studying Music Technology, Psychology and Drama.
Why did you choose to go to the University of Derby?
I loved the city and the vibe of the university, and after having met Simon Lewis, I felt it was the right place for me.
Did you start the course with a specific focus or were you undecided?
I had no focus at the time. I had promoted and managed my own events, enjoyed music tech and loved going to gigs… so I thought live music events were probably where I wanted to be. That being said, I had applied for three different courses at Derby and made a decision on a whim: I also applied for Creative Expressive Therapies and Drama with Psychology joint honours. I don’t regret the decision I made for a second!
Did that focus change on the course? If so, how?
I realised halfway through the course that the technical side of live events was not for me. I was absolutely thrilled that Kit and Simon allowed me to take more managerial roles (Production Manager) in practicals, which truly resurfaced a passion for management in events.
Has that focus changed on graduating? If so, how?
Since graduating, I’ve worked in events, starting in faculty conferences and showcases at the University of Derby, to management in a live music and nightclub venue, and finally freelancing in the world of outdoor events and festivals. I started my own company in September 2021.
What was the most useful thing you learned on the course?
Event Management Plans! Everything I learned in the Event Management module has been insanely helpful. I spend my life writing these now and use the Purple Guide on a daily basis.
What did you learn on the course that you thought you’d never use, but that has come in handy during your career?
Everything. Despite not having used any techy skills since graduating, I come across the terminology at every show I work. It’s due to this knowledge I was the Technical Production Manager for 6 tented stages and the late-night stages at Leeds Festival 2022.
What did you do on the course that you never thought you would enjoy?
Computer Systems and Networks was one that I never thought I would like, or do well in!
What was your favourite establishment in Derby (pub, bar, club, restaurant, etc.)?
What is your most memorable moment from Derby?
A really memorable part of the course was the Show Control module. The group I had was so much fun, and we had an amazing time putting together and showing that project.
What/who at Derby most influenced your life, and how/why?
Simon Lewis and Kit Lane were both hugely understanding. I struggled with many elements of the course, especially as I grew to learn that the technical side was not for me. Instead of suggesting to leave the course, they encouraged and supported me throughout. I left with a 2:1, a grade I never would have achieved without them!
What would you say to a Derby first year student, knowing what you know now?
Connections are everything. Make yourself available to support or volunteer in places you wish to work, whether that is a theatre, film/tv, festivals… showing initiative and making yourself known is invaluable. The majority of jobs I have had are via recommendations from trusted persons I’ve already worked with within the industry.
What have you done professionally since graduating?
I’ve undertaken various courses and training, including first aid and SIA security licence, risk assessments and scenario-based training sessions. The majority of my learnings and development within my career has been whilst on the job!
Have any Derby alumni or staff opened any doors for you? If so, who?
Not exactly, however, I tend to find ex-SLLET people on the majority of jobs I do! We always instantly connect and have worked together multiple times since.
What is your most memorable moment from your career so far?
I have many: some great, some not so great. Events are so dynamic and unpredictable, and it’s where I feel at home. Off the top of my head, things like a big-top stake going through a mains gas pipe is one I will remember, or the time I spent 8 hours in crisis meetings at a small festival because of multiple incidents in a row… but also most of all, it’s being able to watch 5000+ people enjoying an event that I have spent months planning, risk assessing, budgeting and coordinating on the ground.
What are your future career plans/ambitions?
To grow the company a little, and be able to take on 1 or 2 full-time staff to help support on the administrative and on-site tasks.