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!


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Stage crew Progress June 18, 2018

On this day, after a rain delay of 30+ minutes and waiting for the local contractor to deliver the remaining parts to build the Tartan truss system and finalize the Main stage truss, things went fairly well.

First came the roll call and the distribution of work however, the weather had other plans and decided to weigh in with a 30 minute heavy downpour that tested our newly installed gutter system which of course, required real time adjustments (yes we did get wet trying to keep everyone dry).

Once this was done, the complete workforce proceeded to the Tartan tent and worked on finishing the truss.  Noon came and hungry mouths devoured Riek’s sandwiches and desserts. Of course, cookies were had by all.

After lunch the crew worked hard do to complete the Tartan stage truss.

Another hard day at the office.

Tartan Stage Truss

Thank you all,

Tomorrow, the Apex sound gear arrives.  We build the sound and monitor infrastructure, hang lights and continue to work on the small things that have been missed.

Festival is 2 days away after tomorrow.


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Stage crew June 17, 2018

Happy Father’s day to all fathers that worked today

All went fairly well today.

Thanks to the 11 hardworking volunteers (happy father’s day) today, the stage crew accomplished a lot.

The Follow spot scaffold was completed.

Because we cannot use our regular spiked bracing system, we had to use cement blocks on the bottom platform of the Follow Spot tower.  Of course, we had to brace the platform.  Phil and Alan worked hard in the sun to complete the tower roof and safety bracing.

Follow Spot tower

Our wood supplies, Drum rugs and accessories have now been moved to stage left where there is actually more space


Our stage contactor (Activec) finished building the stage deck at the Tartan tent and we were able to bring in the stage truss for that stage and bolt it together.  We are still missing some truss pieces for that stage but those will be delivered tomorrow (Warning for the Monday crew).  Of course, Activec still has to finish painting the Tartan stage

Tartan Stage is up

Hopefully, Monday (tomorrow June 18th) we will get our fence for back stage and be able to finish that part.  Also, we hope that Wall sound will make good on their promise to deliver the remainder of the Tartan stage truss so we can build it.

crew tent going up

Also, the crew today was busy building the most important item in the stage team list, and that is the stage team shelter.

crew tent is up

As you can see above, at first the tent seems to be at a slant but eventually, Riek got the team working together and it got somewhat levelled.  Hey it works for Jazz.


Thank you all.

John Messier
Fellow stage team member


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Saturday’s progress

The Shifts Schedule is looking good. We still have some issues but as of now, we have 56 members that have committed to at least 5 shifts. Please let John know if you can fill any of the remaining shifts!

The set up is going well. You can see photos of the progress under the pictures tab.

As of June 16th, the crew had built the speaker towers and the Follow Spot tower. Also, many thanks to Andrew Hamlin, the truss for both stage was picked up and delivered on Friday June 15th. As a result, we were able to assemble and erect the truss for the Main stage on Saturday June 17th. We were also able to acquire an appropriate a number of risers which we piled up backstage.

We assembled rolling risers and prepared to deliver the remaining truss to the Tamarack tent on Sunday 17th.

Thank you to the June 16th team for the hard work.

Riek, Dorothy and Jennifer accommodated the backstage area under the festival tent. This involves the preparation and organization of “our” work space in the stage tent.

On Sunday June 17th, the members on shift will be very busy building the truss on Laurier stage, finalizing the Follow-spot tower and building our volunteer meeting tent.

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Stage crew progress June 15, 2018

All went as planned today.

Thanks to the 8 hardworking souls today, the stage crew accomplished a lot.

The scaffold was delivered on time and all of the towers required for the festival were build, ready to receive their residents (speaker stacks and follow spots).

picture 1

Our stage contactor (Activec) worked back stage to build us a floor so we would not have to work on soggy soil, and almost finished painting the stage before they ran out of paint.

All of the cabinets are back stage and just need to be levelled.  We began running wires under the stage but ran out of time.

back stage

Our wood supplies and accessories have now been moved to stage left where there is actually more space.

Andrew and Joseluis went to Wall Sound and collected our stage truss and all is now ready for the larger crew tomorrow when we can actually prepare the truss corner plates and blocks and who knows, maybe get the Main stage built so we can then concentrate on the Tartan truss.


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The stage is in

Yesterday the stage was built.

Today the team will build towers for speakers and follow spots.

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The stage cover is up. Because of the new location, lots of concrete blocks were used to secure it.

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Building the stage cover

The stage volunteers worked with the festival staff to build the stage cover on our new site at city hall. Here is the first hinge being built.

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2171 cookies!

This week we made 2171 tasty cookies for our wonderful volunteer stage crew! There will be a small sample at the safety training session tonight. See you there!

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Getting ready for 2018’s festival!

It is hard to believe that two months from now the festival will have started!!! There are still piles of snow on the ground in places and the trees are just starting to bud. There are a few flowers but today was the first day that felt like spring this year in Ottawa.

We are looking forward to welcoming back our returning volunteers and hope to see many new volunteers join the stage team!

Check out the 2018 festival lineup at:

You can find the volunteer link on the menu if you are a new volunteer or have a friend you think would be a great addition to the team!

See you at the stage!

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