When Kristen Thompson was a student at Wake Forest, she drove an hour and a half to Charlotte for her internship, at a "dirty little rock club" called Tremont Music Hall. There she'd punch tickets, run errands, or do whatever grunt work was needed at the show.
It seems that all that hard work paid off.
Thompson, 26, has been general manager of the Music Farm since John Ellison and Marshall Lowe bought the venue in October 2007. Her sweet, soft Southern drawl makes it easy to forget she's responsible for running one of the biggest venues in town. As GM, she's responsible for everything from ordering beer to managing schedules to making sure the bands are happy.
"Pretty much everything except the talent buying," Thompson says.
Her previous jobs have helped prepare her for working at the Farm. When she was hired at Tremont, Thompson says she did everything — managing, talent buying, and all. Her next job was at a huge club called Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale, which boasted 13 full-time employees, making her job a little less stressful.
"I've seen both ends of the spectrum," she says. "I'm not crazy overrun with stuff to do, but I do have my hands full."
Her toughest days, not surprisingly, are show days.
"There are always little emergencies that come up," Thompson says. "You can prepare and prepare and prepare for the show, and then there's always something that comes up, like where to park the buses, dealing with the guest list, dealing with the staff."
The Music Farm also shares a building with the City of Charleston, so they must abide by strict noise regulations. There are the occasional difficult performers as well.
"George Clinton was kind of an adventure because you pretty much had to babysit him into the club. Somebody had to walk him from the bus to the stage," she says of the notoriously unreliable and mischievous funk legend. "And then bands of the hardcore persuasion can get rowdy, tearing up the dressing room."
But even rowdy upstarts can't get this music lover down.
"On my worst day, I still get to work in a rock club for money," she says. "I really enjoy the show, getting to see things happen from start to finish. This is a job that has immediate gratification. You get to see the end result of all your work and all the things you've planned for." —Erica Jackson