We Talk To Elisabeth Barker-Carley On How She Plans To Keep The Music Scene, Shed Good.
At only 25, Elisabeth Barker-Carley is fast becoming one of the most influential people on the Midland’s Live Music scene. The driving force behind the re-opening of The Shed, Elisabeth tells us in her own words about how she got into running live music venues…
I finished studying at Ratcliffe College and I guess that university was the next natural step but, in the end, I decided against going – which my dad wasn’t too pleased about. My plan was to go to New York and intern at a recording studio; but it was soon bought to light that I could never afford that on my £5 an hour waitressing job!
So, my dad struck up a deal with me. If I agreed to go to university, he would help fund my summer which consisted of three festivals and travelling around Spain. And then if I graduated and got a 1st, he would pay off my loan. I ended up at University College Birmingham studying Marketing with Events Management.
Whilst I was studying I got involved with Oxjam and joined the Oxjam Birmingham Takeover team starting out as a bucket shaker and quickly worked my way up the rankings to fundraising manager.
When I left university I joined the Oxjam Leicester Takeover team and took over the reins of the
festival, and it’s through this that I gained a lot of the experience and contacts I have now.
I couldn’t get a job, so I made my own. I built strong relationships with a few bands and venues, and started to host shows locally as well as manage tours. I was on tour with a French band when I got a phone call from my beloved father. He asked if I still wanted to run a recording studio (following on from a wine fuelled conversation a few months prior), and that he knew someone who knew someone who had a space.
That space is now DICP HQ, and now has, as part of the organisation, Gaslight Recording Studios, The Cadence Agency and Apollo Audio and Lighting Hire. It was a natural step for us to then gravitate towards owning our own venue.
An opportunity arose to take over The Shed, a venue which is very close to my heart. The previous
owner is like family to me, and taught me a lot of what I know now. Owning the venue is something I
still can’t quite get my around.
I often get asked if it is hard being a woman in business and my instant gut reaction is why that should
even be a question nowadays.
One of the main obstacles on a personal level though was a struggle with my mental health, and I think it’s important to be honest about this. When I first started the company, everything I did was with blind hope. And there are a lot of rejections in this industry, and at the beginning that was hard to handle. There were so many times I wanted to quit, to give it all up and have a ‘normal’ life. Now, I have an incredible team who work with me and who pick me up when I stumble over.
For more about The Shed and it’s upcoming live events, click HERE.