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17 January 2018


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Bitterne Parker: Matt Bunday
Sunday, 07 June 2015 00:00

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Matt Bunday was born in Southampton in 1986 and grew up here, before studying Stage Management and Technical Production at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After working in London at various venues he moved back to Southampton, and was asked to event manage the Southampton Passion in Guildhall Square in 2011. He went on to form Matt Bunday Events and teach event management at Southampton Solent and the University of Winchester. He says both his company and his teaching are going strong.

The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?  

I've lived here since the age of 12, apart from five years when I studied and worked in London.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

I remember viewing several houses briefly when my parents were looking to move. My next memory was when they moved here while I was at school: I left to go to school one day from a house in Swaythling and then went back to a new house in Bitterne Park. It was very exciting!

How could the area be better?

I sometimes see a few small groups of young people (sometimes being friendly and sometimes being slightly rude or cheeky) when I go home late at night, and know that there did at least used to be a youth group or two in the area. It would be good to maybe see more done to engage these young people and to teach them the value of local communities and in committing to education.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

That’s a tough one… it has an events company five minutes' walk from Riverside Park…. (jokingly plugs).

(More seriously) There are some really nice small and isolated areas by the water in Riverside Park but in they are within the trees that you don’t find unless you look carefully. I used to take my parents' dog down there on a nice summer evening but I had to be careful as the mud is deceptively deep and it can be dangerous. It’s lovely to just sit by the water and look though in the trees when it’s quiet.

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

I’ve always said that living in Southampton is great as it is just a big enough city so that there's always something new and exciting going on, but small enough so that you can still jump in your car and see your friend in 10-15 minutes (nothing is that far apart), or ride from one side to the other side of the city in a fairly short space of time.

What’s your passion in life?

I've always wanted to use the exciting energy and innovation of live events to address real world issues and generally make the world a better place. I also have a real passion for teaching and believe that by training good quality event management students that are entering the industry, tomorrow we can ensure better quality events in the future generally. It’s also fun and really rewarding.

How do you put bread on your table?

I teach a few days a week on the event management courses at Solent University and at the University of Winchester. I am also the technical director and joint owner of Matt Bunday Events which provides event management (project, site, performance and risk management) and technical production management (lighting, sound, stage and AV equipment).

What has your career taught you?

I think attention to detail is a key thing. We pride ourselves on providing (and enhancing) the client's brief and you have to really understand what they want and make sure you provide it and go beyond it when possible. However (if I can have two things..) good time management is absolutely essential to running events and teaching as both are very time consuming and demanding.

What really gets your goat?

Lack of pride and innovation in daily life. I know that my line of work probably requires an over active imagination and some ‘out of the box’ thinking but I just think that if you're going to be doing a job over 30 or 40 years of your life then it must hold some enjoyment and progression. I would never (and don’t think I will ever) want to get to the age of 50 and have big regrets about what I’ve achieved or tried to…

How do you relax?

I play hockey for Eastleigh Hockey Club most Saturdays and am active in my local church (which has quite a nice social scene). So that gets me out bowling, listening to live music, going to the cinema and various other things a few times a month. I also do one or two other small projects where I can use my skills and experience in a slightly different setting such as sitting on the ‘Young Enterprise’ Southampton board.

Which is your favourite pub?

I have always really like the atmosphere and uniqueness of the Hobbit on the edge of Portswood. I often run into people that I know and everyone is really friendly. It is also open quite late so on a nice summer evening you can sit in the pub beer garden until really late at night/ early morning without bothering anyone. I also quite like the Wild Lime bar in Portswood.

What are you drinking?

Vodka and Coke (or lemonade) would be my first choice.

What do you listen to?

I don’t dislike much music, and doing a lot of events and teaching means I still listen to a lot of chart music (which I don’t mind at all), but I really like a lot of the old rock bands: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Eagles, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi. I have been to Hyde Park several times in the last few years and even saw Springsteen’s duet with Paul McCartney: it was amazing!

Can you recommend a really good read?

I read the odd Tom Clancy novel; they can be really good and gripping reads.

What’s a great day out?

Leaving the phone behind and going out with friends, day trips to Brighton or Bournemouth with the sun out, or similarly maybe pub lunch with friends before hockey and then doing something nice in the evening like going for a curry, or to the cinema or maybe even some live music.

What scares you?

I am not a great fan of ‘high’ heights or stupidly large spiders (jokes..). However on a more serious note I’ve always been worried about not making a difference or not being able to say that I’ve had a fulfilling life when I get much older. I think it’s important to put your stamp on your local community and industry.

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

I think just for common sense to prevail…. I think there isn’t much that can’t be achieved if two parties can sit down and discuss things and it’s a real shame what can happen when all the discussions and good will fails. I know that there will always be different opinions and contrasting views in business and in communities but I think that to just keep trying to talk and understand the other person’s viewpoint can be the best way to accomplish or achieve things, maybe meet in the middle.

What’s on your ‘bucket list’?

From a work perspective I would like to achieve a few more large scale local events that promote local and community aspects like the Southampton Passion did (and I am talking to various people about another large scale community project in 2016 actually so watch this space...).

From a personal perspective I would like to play in a hockey cup final (we don’t usually get that far!) and also see some more of the world. Due to work commitments I haven’t been able to go aboard much but I have one trip planned later this year and hope to do a few more; I’m not planning on backpacking for long periods of time though… too much going on.

Tell us a joke

What’s green, white and red all over?

A frog in a blender

As you might have guessed I’m not known for my stand up comedy skills.

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

I would be interested in hearing other views on the value of a good local community as I think that Bitterne Park is generally a lovely area and has a lot of nice people in it doing a lot of good things for the wider community and city, but there are naturally ways to improve it.

Thanks so much for taking part!

Matt's company website is at

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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