What It's Like To Work At A Concert Venue
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What It's Like To Work At A Concert Venue

There's a lot that goes into concerts that isn't just setting up the stage.

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What It's Like To Work At A Concert Venue
Akron-Canton Hot List

The one best word I can think for concerts is indescribable. The rush of adrenaline, the screaming crowd around you, listening to possibly one of your favorite artists create beautiful music in front of you. This is the entire reason I live for music, the reason I became a music industry major. I live for concerts. I constantly await my next one. Recently, I saw 5 Seconds of Summer in July (they’re my favorite band) and the moment walking away from it was like a dream. I shortly followed it with a Demi Lovato concert that I saw with my best friend and watching her face light up to her favorite singer will forever be one of my favorite memories. So when I had a chance to apply to work at a venue close to home, I didn’t seize the opportunity.

Let me give a little backstory: so I go to school for music industry, which is focused on the production side of music -- all the management, PR, producing, etc. I became interested in this after meeting one of my favorite bands ever for the first time back in 2012. I worked stage manager at my high school chorus shows. And as much as I wanted to be a singer, I knew in the back of my mind that that dream would never become a reality. The music business is tough and after hearing about my dad’s experience with it, it became obvious.

The opportunity arose for me last year when I applied, unfortunately, a little too late into the entertainment season. I never got an email from the venue and assumed they either never got my application or that I didn’t fit their criteria. This past spring, I applied again for a project I had to do at school where I picked a job I wanted to work at over the summer. I had heard back from the event staff manager, set an interview date with her, and was hired immediately. As soon as I got back in the car with my mom, I started crying out of excitement. This was my first step to my dream.

The first day was entirely nerves and anxiety. I was intimidated by everyone and was scared to do anything wrong. My supervisors were showing me how to do ticketing (which I definitely messed up the first time) and while I was relieved to see people I knew from high school, I couldn’t help but worry about not fitting in or wondering if maybe I chose the wrong major, even though I loved this chance and wanted to do whatever I could with music. Even if it meant ticketing at shows for a couple months.

Looking back at the first day, I laugh because I fit in so well with everyone and, no surprise here, put effort into my work and truly enjoy it. Concert staff all work at venues for one reason: they love music. The love the entertainment. Everyone who works there has been to at least 10 concerts (most likely way more.) They’re all outgoing and we get along like a weird and crazy, but happy family. They are what make the job completely worth it. And obviously the music.

Now the actual job itself asks a lot. Think about when you go to concerts: you see a lot of people drinking (if it’s a show like that), screaming, and going crazy. That’s now my problem. We have to clean up all the empty beer cups on the ground and clean up the vomit-covered toilets and while I wish I could Febreeze the whole room to get rid of the smell of cigarettes and weed, I know it would just come lingering back the next night. Concert-goers have no respect for what happens after the show. There was a time when a huge splat of ketchup was covered by tomato and lettuce on the ground and I had to clean it with my bare hands. When we put away tables and chairs for seated shows, I’ll feel alcohol dribble down my arm from all the spills that night. I even slipped and fell while shoveling (yes, shoveling) the empty cups. (By the way I was okay.) And worst of all are trying to call over supervisors when you see someone too drunk or about to break out in a fight. So why on earth have a job like that?

That’s just it. You deal with all the bullshit and hold your tongue because although you might want to tell that person that they can shove it after being yelled at about where their assigned seats are, you know you can’t and you won’t because through it all you still love it. The number of times I’ve had conversations with drunk people telling me how much they loved the concert or how impressed they are with me or another co-worker is unfathomable. The tips I’ve gotten for helping handicapped people get upstairs to enjoy live music or the compliments I’ve gotten for smiling or having fun or knowing things about where I work is crazy to think about. I get paid to see live music; to get to watch sound checks; to pick up Foreigner’s guitar pick off the ground; to have a small chat with Bob Saget; to see kids and adults dance and smile and walk out cheering; to hear compliments from managers and other roadies. While it’s the basics of the basics for the music industry, it’s still a dream come true for me. It’s networking and making my way up and the experience overall. I’m one of the lucky people who get to say they love their job. And while I know I won’t be there always, I hope to go back someday – maybe to bring a band I manage to play a show.

So next time you go see a concert, please tip any waitresses or bar staff and thank security or ticketers. The small gesture means a lot. Be kind to them because they deal with idiots every night. They clean up your mess and keep you safe when people get out of hand. Talk about the music with them if you ever have a chance. Ask them about their job or what their normal day working is like. Know that even if you don’t always see them smiling that they’re probably just told to take their job seriously or keep an eye on the crowd. And know all the hard work they put in before, during and after is all for you to go back home that night and say you just experienced the best concert ever.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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