Meet Simon

Simon1. How did you become part of the Voice Festival?

After leaving my university a cappella days (I was in Oxford University’s Out of the Blue from 2004-2006), I had been bitten by the a cappella bug and didn’t want to give it up! I decided, with Alex to start up an organisation to help develop the a cappella network, initially at universities (as that is where we had both sung previously). Thus was born The Voice Festival UK and I’ve really enjoyed leading it with Alex ever since and seeing us grow into the charity we are today.

2. What’s your role in the team?

Officially, as the Business and Finance Director, I oversee our finances including funding and spending to ensure we operate as sustainably as possible with a long term view. As well as this, I support our team in running our network of events, with a particular focus on the logistics of our events and our box office / ticketing systems. Given that there aren’t too many of us yet, I inevitably get involved in lots of areas and help out whenever necessary – at least this keeps it varied and fun!

3. What’s been your favourite Voice Festival moment so far?

There have been so many great moments, but if I had to single one out then for me personally it would probably be reflecting on our most recent season at our staff meeting in April! As dull as this sounds, it was only here, once we were out the other end of our hectic period and looking back, that I was able to reflect on what we had achieved and how we have grown in our 4 year history! From whatever angle we looked at it, there were reasons to be proud – number of events, number of participants, number of audience members, feedback, diversity of experiences etc, and this really helped to remind me why we spend so much of our spare time running this great charity!

4. Who’s your favourite professional group and why?

Wow, that’s a hard question with so many great groups out there! I love the ‘Real Group’ and of course the ‘Swingle Singers’ and listen to them lots, but I think I would have to name ‘The Magnets’ as my favourite, purely because they were the first pro group I came across in my singing days and inspired so much of my early a cappella life as a result – particularly when I saw them live at Edinburgh for the first time. Having said that, one of the great things about the Voice Festival for me is that it has helped me discover lots of groups I didn’t know about before, and as a result my ‘favourite group of the moment’ probably changes every few months!

5. Have you any secret talent/fact worth sharing?

I could share it, but I’d have to kill you! No, seriously, do I have any secret talents or facts? Well another hobby of mine is SCUBA diving – in fact I am a qualified instructor – I suppose most people don’t know that. Normally when I’m asked this question elsewhere I say I can sing or beatbox but I suppose that’s not really secret or surprising given the circumstances here!

6. Describe the Voice Festival in three words!

Fun, Inclusive, Supportive