Irish Women in Business - Jenny Wren of Body & Soul 4 years ago

Irish Women in Business - Jenny Wren of Body & Soul

Festival season is in full swing and we can't wait to get see summer 2015 has in store.

Forbidden Fruit looked like great craic, Longitude and Electric Picnic are always highlights on the Irish music calendar and Body and Soul takes place from the 19th to the 21st June.

With that in mind, we spoke to music booker Jenny Wren, who has programmed Body & Soul festival since its inception, for the next in our Irish Women in Business series.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how your career began.

I worked for hundreds of years in London as an art director in marketing and advertising. Music was, is and always has been my 'go to’. Throughout those years in London I volunteered in hospital & pirate radio and I was also diligent on the dance scene.

Jumping back to Ireland somewhere around 2003 I continued to hold down my main job (kept me in shoes and records) but again music was fulfilling my soul.

Pirate radio station Jazz Fm was my home before all the pirate stations were taken off air. I featured in Carbon Records, dipped into club nights and programmed Power FM.  Around this time, my childhood friend Avril Stanley was asked to do a healing area at Electric Picnic. She wanted to do a small music stage in there, from small beginnings Body & Soul was born.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I have nearly always worked freelance; it just suits who I am and how I work.

What challenges did you meet when starting out?

Being broke & staying brave.

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Talk to us about Body and Soul and its place on the Irish festival scene.

Body & Soul is quite simply a labour of love, a magnificent "bespoke production" put on by a dedicated team of super people who work year round behind the scenes with vision, integrity, high standards & grit.

Music is my end of the story, my job as I see it, is to set the tone of the musical landscape for the weekend. Myself and Dec Forde spend the year, listening, talking and arguing! Every slot is programmed & considered carefully, like I say we work to high standards *as she mops her musical highbrow*

I can't really answer where we 'are' on the festival scene but I know what we are striving for and what we wish people's experience to be. However, it’s probably safe to say we are at this point established on the Irish festival calendar.

What should we look forward to at this year's festival? Is there anything different/extra lined up?

Between our main stages and the small venues there really is wonderfully diverse menu to choose from. As mentioned we love every act we book, but at a push, personal highlights (outside of the obvious ones)  are Goat, Songhoy Blues, Mathew E White, Natalie Prass, James Holden but I could go on here, like really go on!

Body Holidays is a metamorphosis of the amazing My House crew, also this year we have Chai Wallah. The space will be rocking having wanted to work with them for years, it’s really exciting to finally have them with us.

What's on the horizon for the remainder of 2015?

Of course we have Body & Soul at Electric Picnic which has been our home for 10 years, but for the remainder of 2015 ...well now, you shall have to wait and see!

What advice would you give to others hoping to start their own business?

Trust your gut, always.

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What do you love most about your job?

Once I get to come out from under the excel files, emails and get to see the acts live on stage... it’s hugely indulgent, like painting a beautiful picture and getting to watch it come to life! I get a special thrill watching young Irish acts come up through the ranks and blossom.

Tell us the highlight of your career to date.

Watching Nick Cave from side of stage & getting a Johnny Rotten hug! Really though it’s working with Pat Neary (my co-booker of picnic) and indeed growing something with a child hood friend.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how your career began.

I worked for hundreds of years in London as an art director in marketing / advertising, 'through the line' campaign to be precise! Music was, is and always has been my 'go to’.

Throughout those years in London I volunteered in hospital & pirate radio, was also diligent on the hedonistic dance scene! Jumping back to Ireland somewhere around 2003 I continued to hold down my main job (kept me in shoes and records) but again music was fulfilling my soul.

15626203748_774c70c539_z

Pirate radio station Jazz Fm was my home before all the pirate stations were taken off air; featured in Carbon Records; dipped into club nights & programmed Power Fm.  Around this time my childhood friend Avril Stanley was asked to do a healing area at electric picnic, she wanted to do a small music stage in there, from small beginnings Body & Soul was born!

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I have nearly always worked freelance; it just suits who I am and how I work.

What challenges did you meet when starting out?

Being broke & staying brave.

15787930996_34a887e227_z

Talk to us about Body and Soul and its place on the Irish festival scene.

Body & Soul is quite simply a labour of love, a magnificent "bespoke production" put on by a dedicated team of super people who work year round behind the scenes with vision, integrity, high standards & grit. Music is my end of the story, my job as I see it, is to set the tone of the musical landscape for the weekend.

Myself and Dec Forde spend the year, listening, talking and arguing!! Every slot is programmed & considered carefully, like I say we work to high standards *as she mops her musical highbrow*

I can't really answer where we 'are' on the festival scene but I know what we are striving for and what we wish people's experience to be. However, it’s probably safe to say we are at this point established on the "festival calendar"!

What should we look forward to at this year's festival? Is there anything different/extra lined up?

Between our main stages and the small venues there really is wonderfully diverse menu to choose from. As mentioned we love every act we book, but at a push, personal highlights (outside of the obvious ones) are  Goat, Songhoy Blues, Mathew E White, Natalie Prass, James Holden but I could go on here, like really go on!!!

Body Holidays is a metamorphosis of the amazing My House crew, also this year we have Chai Wallah. The space will be rocking having wanted to work with them for years, it’s really exciting to finally have them with us.

15813164302_bcf0e95682_z

What's on the horizon for the remainder of 2015?

Of course we have Body & Soul at Electric Picnic which has been our home for 10 years, but for the remainder of 2015 ...well now, you shall have to wait and see...

What advice would you give to others hoping to start their own business?

Trust your gut, always.

What do you love most about your job?

Once I get to come out from under the excel files, emails and get to see the acts live on stage... it’s hugely indulgent, like painting a beautiful picture and getting to watch it come to life! I get a special thrill watching young Irish acts come up through the ranks and blossom.

Tell us the highlight of your career to date.

Watching Nick Cave from side of stage & getting a Johnny Rotten hug! Really though it’s working with Pat Neary (my co booker of picnic) and indeed growing something with a child hood friend.