We asked Cormac Collins, Head of Crew, why he got into event crewing and where it’s taking him:
Cormac Collins did a music technology degree in Cork, his hometown. “During the summers I would do sound gigs. Small things for bands near where I lived.” It got him interested in the wider event industry, he just needed a way to transition from a techy at small gigs to a hands-on event professional.
A friend of Cormac’s told him about crewing and how it had given him exposure to the sector. The only problem was that “crewing didn’t really exist in Ireland, certainly not in Cork, there’s not enough going on.”
So in 2012, Cormac packed his bags and came to London which at that point was playing host to the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee.
It seemed like perfect timing: “Initially I worked for a couple of large crewing companies. I was there to do a little part of something gigantic – we’re talking hundreds of crew. It was amazing to be involved in something on that scale but I found it hard to get any breadth of experience or show that I was any good.”
“When I went to Connection Crew it was different. Within a few days I honestly felt like the team knew me; knew my name. I got to learn and I got to stand out – it was a breath of fresh air.”
It didn’t exactly come easy. “Coming from a techy background, being part of big events was weird for me. But I worked my arse off and took every job and it was brilliant. Because I got to learn about pretty much everything. From putting out chairs at a trendy awards ceremony, to setting up a stage at big pharmaceutical conference.”
The hard work paid off. Cormac was promoted to Crew Chief in 2014 and to Head of Crew in 2018 and now leads teams of 30 crew to deliver complex setups for events like the Ideal Home Show at Olympia and The Festival of Marketing at Tobacco Dock. It’s logistically challenging and requires strong leadership skills: “making sure the right people are on the right tasks, making sure they are motivated and busy and simultaneously keeping up with developments from the client – it’s very satisfying.”
“When I started I didn’t know anything about crewing and I definitely never thought I could tell people what to do. I was never that kind of person, not in school or in college or anything. But now I know everything about crewing and I’m pretty good at managing people. It’s a crucial skill to have under your belt if you want to move forward in the industry into production or logistics for example.”