As I sit here listening to my washing machine clean the stage towels, I’m reminded of all the hard work that each member of the volunteer stage crew does to make the Ottawa Jazz Festival a success. Today’s headliner was Boz Scaggs and he gave us a wonderful concert. The crew had a 9 am start in order to prep the stage and unload the 53 foot truck trailer full of gear. This was a full “racks and stacks” show, meaning that the artists provided everything but the basic sound and lights system.
After the truck was unloaded the crew helped the artist’s team set up a new front of house system as well as a new monitor system. We helped set up all the instrument stations and negotiated to get the space we would need on the stage for the 6:30 show, which was a big band–17 musicians on risers and the grand piano.
After the big band show finished, the crew removed the big band’s microphones, chairs, music stands, monitors, back line, all cables and the piano—in 15 minutes! Then they assisted the 8:30 band reset their pieces that had to be moved to accommodate the big band.
Throughout the day and evening the team worked on projects that would make life better on or back stage. As well they responded to issues identified both for the stage area and the festival. We built things, fixed things, did a lot of trouble shooting and also helped members of the public understand what was going on.
The crew assisted the band in getting on and off the stage and stood by in case of any issues or needs. At the end of the show, the crew assisted the band staff in packing up everything that they had brought onto the stage and then getting it on the truck!
As well, the two team members who were on the follow spots did a great job and the band really appreciated their professional work!!!! Way to go!
Well done, everyone!!!! In just a few short hours we do it all over again for another band. That’s the festival life for a stage volunteer!