Students interview BBC stars at Luton’s Big Weekend

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Over the May Bank Holiday, six lucky students from the University of Bedfordshire were given press access to Radio 1’s Big Weekend to meet up-and-coming artists and gather live radio content with the BBC Introducing team.

Volunteering their time throughout the three-day festival with the University’s campus-based Radio LaB station, the group of Media students got to interview a number of performers from the BBC Introducing stage – including Deeps, Kiimi and Beth McCarthy – as well as other famous behind-the-mic faces from the BBC. These included breakfast show host, Greg James; Bedfordshire alumni and presenting duo, Rickie and Melvin; Aled Haydn Jones, Head of Radio 1; and Kelly Betts – another Bedfordshire alumni and now Editor of BBC Introducing.

Fleur O’Brien, 1st year BA (Hons) Media Marketing & PR student commented: “Interviewing the BBC Introducing artists at Big Weekend was amazing! It was great getting to meet some of the musicians one-to-one and practising my interview skills with them. The festival was fantastic and I'm entirely grateful for the opportunity. I also really enjoyed being able to have access to the guest area – it was fun skipping the long queues, plus you never knew who you were going to bump into!”

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Joel Atkinson, 2nd year BA (Hons) Radio & Audio student said: “It's been an incredible experience to be a part of, having been given fantastic access and the opportunity to talk to some really cool local and small artists. The highlight for me was talking to the inspirational Greg James who delighted in telling us that Radio LaB is better than Radio 1! Having valuable learning opportunities like this allows us to put our professional methods taught in lectures into practice in a real fast-paced environment.”

Student Amia (R) met Rag'n'Bone Man while working with Tara Dolby from BBC Three CountiesStudent Amia (R) met Rag'n'Bone Man while working with Tara Dolby from BBC Three Counties
Student Amia (R) met Rag'n'Bone Man while working with Tara Dolby from BBC Three Counties

The edited content was streamed on the University’s community radio station over the May Bank Holiday weekend and the following weeks, and will be repeated on occasion throughout the summer for listeners to enjoy all over again.

Commenting on the students’ involvement, the Editor of BBC Introducing said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have Danielle, Fleur, Simona, James, Joel and Nataya join the BBC Introducing team at Radio 1’s Big Weekend. They were all brilliant, really professional and extremely passionate. It reminded me of when I presented a show on Radio LaB while studying – that was the starting point of all my radio dreams! I would have been over the moon for an opportunity like this so I’m so pleased we were able to arrange this activity – they really made the most of it.”

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“I’m incredibly proud of the team involved in Radio LaB’s coverage at the Big Weekend,” added Terry Lee, Senior Tutor in Radio & Audio. “These experiences are amazing for giving them a chance to put their learning into practice, add something juicy to their CVs and help build up their confidence. The BBC team, especially Kelly Betts, has been extremely helpful in creating this once in a lifetime experience which I’m sure our students will never forget.”

Student Dani interviewing BBC Introducing's artist, KiimiStudent Dani interviewing BBC Introducing's artist, Kiimi
Student Dani interviewing BBC Introducing's artist, Kiimi

As well as this brilliant opportunity, three more students from the University’s School of Arts & Creative Industries were selected for a paid internship to help BBC Three Counties Radio produce broadcast content – including an interview with Rag’n’Bone Man – during the Big Weekend. Read about it here.