Interview with Jo Lowes
Formerly from Cumbria, Jo Lowes of Puffer Fish PR is an experienced professional in the world of entertainment and event PR, but, as Revive reveals.
With a passion for music and a background in graphics and photography, Jo reveals how she’s ended up doing her ideal job, while also hosting a regular show on Fab FM Radio
Writing for Sounds mag, and still finding time to teach teenagers and supporting family life.
When did the Puffer Fish business start to take off as a business?
“It’s been going for about a two and a half years now.
It first started when I had to take some time off when my son was born, but then later got back into it. Except, that this time, alternatively instead of running around with a camera, I found I was organising gigs, which I prefered as this was more my kind of thing.”
With an understanding of knowing what journalists and photographers require when it comes to events and promoting bands etc, Jo has grown her business, from initially doing press to full-on festivals and event organising. This includes the recent such as Macclesfield Festival and the For The Love Of Sci-fi Expo.
“It’s not easy, it’s pretty stressful, and you end up rushing around like a blue-arsed fly. There’s nothing better than when it all goes to plan, and you notice people enjoying themselves.
There are not many jobs you get that feeling with.”
Is it hard being a female in your industry? Do you get the equal respect a man would?
“Definitely not! Tutoring in colleges and universities, I am never treated differently, so I expected the creative industry like the music trade to be the same with equal opportunities.
This has not been the case. It’s still very much about lads in indie bands, and people keep asking me how I manage to juggle everything.
I’m convinced if I were a man, they would never dream of asking that question.”
Jo also says that she has encountered the gender pay gap. However, she still remains positive and is keen to promote change.
“With the financial support from teaching work, I can decide who I work with, and I only work with people who respect me as a woman in my industry.”
Who’s the craziest individual you’ve ever worked with?
“It’s eye-opening working as both press and artist liaison at festivals, just when you think you have seen it all, something happens that blows your mind!”
Jo mentions a lady singer who was adamant on using the mens toilets, but also insisted that Jo held her hand the whole time.
“I’ve had bands with strange requests, such as carrots with leaves attached. And I’ve had to persuade photographers not to take compromising pictures of unaware artists.”
This is all part and parcel of the job, dealing with people you cannot put in a box and classify.
“And I’ve dealt with people who were out of their minds…”
and I end up running
around like a blue-arsed fly,
but there’s nothing better
then when it all goes well.”
Have you ever met any super famous people?
“meeting Paul McCartney in Liverpool, years ago, this was the ultimate fan-girl moment for me. I now get more excited by sci-fi.”
Jo’s referring to the special guests at For The Love Of Sci-Fi, held at Bowlers Exhibition Centre.
Guests for this event included stars from the original 1987 Predator movie, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, among many others including Gaten Matarazzo from the Netflix phenomenon Stranger Things.
Jo’s own enthusiasm for sci-fi, and championing women in what is largely a male-dominated world is displayed on a wall on the side of her house, in the form of a mural of Princess Leia, created by local artist Trafford Parsons.
Combining Leia’s painting with David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane lightning bolt, it seems to capture Jo’s areas of curiosity cleverly, and work.
What are your intentions for the future?
Jo furthermore does her radio appearance on Fab FM, and she’s going to be a judge on Manchester Indie Week, as well as building the Foundation Festival for grassroots music.
She says she’d love to do more events, but at the same rate, she still likes teaching.
For her, the impulse is the same: to get people to reach for their dreams and get to wherever they want to be.
“I’ve always enjoyed supporting other people, rather than achieving my own ambitions. Getting my five-year-old to age 15, and him being an excellent human being matters most to me. The rest is a bonus.”
Main Photo Credit – Laura Deane