Gigster founder Carina Bruwer chats about all things versatile!

Musician, marathon swimmer, business owner, executive producer, artist manager, music promoter, charity supporter and mother of three, Carina Bruwer is also the founder of Gigster, a revolutionary platform to book live entertainment for events.

We managed to catch up with her and ask her a few questions.

Gigster Online (GO): What can you share with us about yourself that most of your fans/followers don't already know?
Carina (CB): "I can talk backwards. It's an occupational hazard!" (She really can and not just slowly either!)

GO: At what age did your passion for music start?
CB: "I grew up in a musical family, and my older brother was a piano "wunderkind", so I always heard him practicing since the age of about 5. My mother also played the piano occasionally, and had an amazing opera voice, which she would share generously in church (during hymns) and even at birthday parties during the Happy Birthday song (eeck!!) I could not wait to take up an instrument, and finally started piano lessons at the age of 9. However, between enjoying the outdoors and fighting my brother off the piano, putting in enough practice was tricky. So at age 14 I took up the flute and the rest was history."

GO: What instrument would you have loved to learn to play, if not flute?
CB: "Electric guitar. It is very powerful whilst extremely expressive. It can reach the highs and lows of the (instrumental) musical spectrum with ease and passion, and it has the power to pierce through the heart, when played well."

GO: As a "Jill of many trades", you are also a record-breaking marathon swimmer. Tell us a little more about your swimming career.
CB: "I have always been a water baby but only started swimming regularly for fitness during my first year at University. For me it provided a healthy balance between the "seriousness" of my Music studies, and it became an essential part of my everyday life, providing me with the extra energy needed to perform at the level I wanted to. People started asking me what I was training for, assuming I was a triathlete or open water swimmer, and I began to realize that I was actually a reasonable swimmer! I decided to enter a 12km race (having swum no more than 4km at a time at this stage) from Simonstown to Muizenberg. I was very nervous but went through with it and after entering the water at Simonstown, I walked onto the beach at Muizenberg a changed person. I was hooked forever - to doing what I love, combined with the rhythm and peace of the ocean. I went on to do some of the world's most challenging open water swims, including the English Channel (36km), Straits of Gibraltar (18km), across False Bay (Rooi Els to Simonstown - 36km) and many more. When I was younger, I was quite competitive within myself, and when there was a record to be broken, I went for it! But now that I'm a bit older and (arguably) wiser (and a mother of three!), it is important for me to make a difference when embarking on a crossing, so my big swims are now all in honour and support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, an amazing organization that supports children with cancer and their families."

GO: How do you manage to fit this all into your schedule and what, if any connection, does swimming have to performing and running an entertainment business?
CB: "Swimming for me is like having breakfast - it is an essential part of my day. Although it takes time, it also gives me time in the sense that I can really focus for the rest of the day, and I have additional energy to push through when the day becomes long (which it usually does; I often work until midnight!). It gives me clarity of thought, and some of my best ideas have been born in the water! And yes, of course it improves lung capacity, which goes a long way when playing the flute ;)"

GO: Speaking of entertainment agencies, how did 5 Seasons Entertainment come about?
CB: "Graduating with a BMus (Hons) as I did, doesn't exactly set you up for any clear career path. I did not want to become a teacher or become part of an orchestra like some of my peers, so I decided to start marketing my own musical groups to the wedding and corporate entertainment industries. Soon other musicians and groups asked me to help them "find gigs" and my marketing efforts organically grew into an agency. After a couple of years, I was representing hundreds of acts, and was employing a few agents."

GO: After more than 10 years of success and a roster of over 500 performers, what prompted you to create the online booking platform, Gigster Online?
CB: "Although it was working very well, the agency dynamic wasn't exciting me any more, and I realized that I either had to do something completely different, or I had to take what I had built up, and turn it into something completely different! I decided on the latter, and realized that there was still a lot of space for creativity in the industry, if you just look at it from a different angle. Online marketing has always been my passion, and I realized that although all businesses and most artists have great websites, there are no "web businesses" in the industry yet, and combined with the trend to "cut out the middle man", I knew it was time to build a platform which puts the client in direct touch with the artist, whilst offering valuable marketing and booking tools to ensure a successful booking."

GO: What exactly is Gigster?
CB: "Gigster is an online booking platform for live gigs. Clients and artists interact directly via the sophisticated web interface, which offers an array of agency-developed booking tools to assist with professional quoting and contracting, prompt payments and to ensure that both parties are protected and know exactly what to expect from a performance."

GO: For whom is Gigster designed/who would benefit from using this platform?
CB: "It is designed for all professional entertainers who offer their services for events. We do not list artists that do not have experience (or enough talent!), so the client is ensured of quality entertainment within their budget range, etc. Both artists who manage themselves and/or their own acts, and acts that are managed by a professional manager, get benefit from the site. Some managers have multiple acts listed on Gigster, and regard it as an essential tool in the industry. It is of course also aimed at anyone who plans to book live entertainment - whether a private client who books an act for a birthday party or wedding, or a seasoned event organizer or corporate event manager who books entertainment regularly."

GO: How has Gigster changed the face of the entertainment industry?
CB: "Gigster is providing clients with more budget friendly options than before; artists are in the driving seat and love being able to negotiate their own deals (with some strategic help from our system!), and with over 500 quality acts from a myriad of genres being listed on Gigster (with fresh acts being added daily), the site is undoubtedly a pillar of information and an essential resource in the entertainment industry."

GO: Where to from here?
CB: "We are hoping to take Gigster international! There seems to be scope for a business like this in the entertainment industry worldwide, so we are looking forward to helping artists book gigs far and wide!"

With Carina's business focus being on long-term sustainability and quality, Gigster is set to become both a local and international success in the entertainment industry. With its constantly growing selection of diverse artists, there is sure to be something for all tastes and budgets.

Check Carina out online
Carina's Official website
Sterling EQ's website
Swim For Hope's website

Written by Marguerite de Allende @ Gigster Marketing. 30.05.2017



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