Triple j's Sarah Howells

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Triple j's Sarah Howells

Sarah Howells: you’ve heard the name, you’ve heard her tunes and at StreetLife festival in Geelong you’ll soon be able to add the face to make the triple threat of the Sarah Howells experience. Coming to Geelong for the first time, make her feel welcome Forte readers!
Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment? 
I’m great! Just hunting around for new music for Roots N All on triple j and wrapping my head around all of the awesome music that’s being made at the moment. There are a bunch of new releases and really great albums coming out right now. The new Fat Freddy’s Drop album Bays has really grabbed my attention. I love those guys and pretty much everything they do, so pretty stoked that they’ve got some new stuff on the way this week… and it sounds awesome!
First things first, how did you first come to working at triple j? 
I started volunteering in the music industry when I was 15 years old. I did poster runs for shows, organised all ages gigs in my regional area, wrote for street press and got stuck into pretty much everything else you could imagine. After a few years I started working at a community radio station, Bay FM in Byron, and asked someone how I’d go about getting in contact with triple j. I ended up with a contact name and number, made a call, put a demo together, and got a tour of the triple j studios from Costa Zouliou. I volunteered to help out in the record library and spent every Friday for the next year cataloguing CDs in my spare time. I was still doing community radio, getting feedback from Costa, and working on my radio craft and after a year of volunteering I scored my first middawn shift on triple j. It was pretty surreal stuff, but took me about eight years of volunteering to get there. Funny though, as it never felt like work, I just did what I loved to do and any paid work I got out of it was a total bonus!
Are there any big misconceptions about radio presenters? 
Probably what we look like! I swear, I’ve had a different picture in my head for every radio announcer that I’ve ever met. No one looks like their voice. But then, if you asked me what they should look like, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you!
You’ll soon be coming down for the inaugural StreetLife festival in Geelong, how important is it for people to branch out and give new concepts/festivals a go?  
Totally important! Change and growth is all about trying new things, in every aspect of our lives. There are so many festivals around at the moment that it’s easy to pick the same ones to pop along to, but that doesn’t mean new ones won’t be equally as awesome as the ones we know and love. Branch out, live life, try something new, and you may just surprise yourself.
From what you’ve seen of festivals in your role at triple j, what do you think is the trick to a successful event? 
There are so many elements that need to blend well for a successful event. All of the behind the scenes stuff is super important, and that’s all the stuff that mostly goes unseen. Having a great team working together on the event, making sure the bands are on time for their set and have everything they need, ensuring there are enough places to get food and drink… all of these sound pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many festivals suffer from not getting it quite right. And then you’ve got the stuff that we do all see – a great ‘vibe’ is so important.
Have you had much of a chance to look at line up StreetLife? Anyone that you’re particularly excited to see? 
The Delta Riggs always bring the party to their live show and I’m looking forward to seeing them carve up the stage at StreetLife. Being a lover of new music, I’m keen to check out some of the local acts too. I’ve heard amazing things about Revolution, so I’ll definitely be seeing that! Keeping my Roots N All hat on, I’m looking forward to seeing Imogen Brough, Izzy Losi and Levi Anderson, as well as discovering some new music that I don’t even know I love yet!
What can punters expect from your set there? 
StreetLife is going to be a big party, so I’ll have all the latest tunes that I’m loving at the moment, which will get us in a dancing mood. I might throw a few classics in there too – there’s nothing like a little bit of cheese on the dancefloor. You can expect lots of fun songs and good vibes from me, that’s for sure.
Given the event is in Geelong, have Veronica and Lewis given you any pointers/insight into the town? 
No, but I may need to pick their brain about that… and yours! It’s actually my first ever time in Geelong, so I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Thanks again for that chat, are there any last words of wisdom you’d like to give our readers? 
Be yourself, be awesome and do what you love. Good things will come your way. Thanks, great to chat!
When & Where: StreetLife Festival, Geelong – November 14