Nothing to see here, except that It’s All Happening

I had a lot of people asking me if everything was okay after my last post. The most genuine answer I can give you is that it’s nothing I can’t handle. A million different song lyrics are flying through my head right now, but I will refrain from using them.

In keeping with my open invitation to Joy for 2016, I’m going to focus on thinking and writing about the things that make me happy. Like the fact Canadian Music Week is almost 2 months away. Insert internal squealing. Okay, maybe a little external squealing as well.

I spent this past Saturday meeting many of the new volunteers who will be joining our existing team of super-star volunteers who love music as much as1 I do. It was a long day of repeated speeches for our side of the room, but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else.

I’ve had many great years working on music festivals, and they’re a part of my life that continually bring me joy. They are one of the main reasons I gave up full-time work, and I fight every day to make sure I can be a part of the productions that bring unforgettable experiences to so many. I think back on the days before I was on this side of production, and I have the most fond memories of being in a room with electric energy, looking over at a friend, and just smiling – without a word – knowing that you’re both having the best time; yes because you were there together but also because the show was amazing.

Lakes of Canada at the Garrison in 2013

When I was first accepted as a Stage Manager in 2010, I never thought I would be joining the team 6 years later as an Assistant Volunteer Co-orindator/Crew Chief but here I am. Ok, that may not be entirely true. I always hoped it would happen, but I didn’t it would. I thought that maybe I’d need to go back to full-time work and/or I would be out of the country. I’ve almost moved somewhere else at least 3 times in the last 6 years2.

I’ve never felt so ready to take on a role in my life. I’m nervous, but also incredibly excited. I will not sleep very much for a few weeks leading up to the festival, and especially during the festival but it will be amazing. Who needs sleep anyway?

Just in case you’re interested, I wrote a list of lessons I learned from volunteering for the last 10 festivals I’ve been a part of.

Footnotes:
  1. or more than[]
  2. let’s not talk about all the reasons that have kept me here though[]

It’s All Happening: At The Garrison during Canadian Music Week

It’s finally here! Canadian Music Week used to happen in March but they’re changing things up and this year it’s taking place between May 6th to the 10th. As usual, I’ve signed up to be a Stage Manager for the Festival. It’s something that I look forward to every year, and I’m delighted to be celebrating my 5th year at the same venue where I met Garrett1.

Every year, I am super pumped to be working with all the bands that I get to work with and this year is no different. I always try to check out a Band’s sound the week before the festival so I know what kind of a night I am in for; it also helps me get a feel for the band and their members, and how I can relate to them. You should give these fine folk a listen, and you should definitely come by The Garrison this week and enjoy some quality entertainment.

 

Wednesday May 7th

M for Montreal, Wavelength & CMW Co-Present: โ€œMโ€ For…

$10 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:30PM

9PM

10PM

11PM

Moonwood

CMW14 Moonwood

Mannerisms

CMW14 Mannerisms

MaicaMia

CMW14 MaicaMia sq

Listen

Listen

Listen

12AM

1AM

Mas Aya

CMW14 Mas Aya

Mozart’s Sister

CMW14 Mozarts Sister

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

Thursday May 8th

Reeperbahn Festival & CMW Co-Present

$15 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 7:30PM

8PM

9PM

10PM

Saidah Baba Talibah

CMW14 Saidah Baba Talibah

No Sinner

CMW14 No Sinner

Thomas D’Arcy

CMW14 Thomas DArcy

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

xxxx

11PM

12AM

1AM

CATL

CMW14 CATL sq

The King Khan & BBQ Show

CMW14 The King Khan & BBQ Show

Green Rays

CMW14 Green Rays

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

Friday May 9th

Breton & CMW Co-Present

$15 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:00PM

8:30PM

9PM

10PM

Adi Ulmansky

CMW14 Adi Ulmansky sq

BESTiE

CMW14 BESTiE

Wolf Saga

CMW14 Wolf Saga

Listen

Listen

Listen

Watch

 

11PM

12AM

Step Rockets

CMW14 Step Rockets

Breton

CMW14 Breton sq

Listen

Listen

Watch

Watch

 

Saturday May 10th

HillyDilly.com’s CMW Showcase

$10 Cover or all wristbands accepted

DOORS OPEN @ 8:30PM

9PM

9:45PM

10:30PM

Hoodlem

CMW14 Hoodlem

Sons et. Al

CMW14 Sons et al.

!XX! (Sean Leon & Daniel Caesar)

CMW14 Sean Leon

CMW14 Daniel Caesar

Listen

Listen

Listen: Sean Leon

 

11:30PM

12:45AM

1:30AM

Waldo

CMW14 Waldo

BASECAMP

CMW14 BASECAMP

Nightizm

CMW14 Nightizm

Listen

Listen

Listen

What are you hoping to check out at CMW this year?

 

Footnotes:
  1. yeah, we all know that’s not his real name but that is and will always be his name on this blog[]

It’s All Happening: Lessons learned from Volunteering

Canadian Music Week 2010

By now1, I would be neck deep into my fifth year as a Stage Manager for Canadian Music Week – that is, if they hadn’t moved the festival to a warmer time of year2. As I yearn for the late nights, live music, and the perfect outlet for my need to organize-the-shit-out-of-everything I thought I’d list a few lessons I’ve learned about volunteering for festivals such as Canadian Music Week and North by North East.

CMW logo

NXNE2014-logo

The simple things
Becoming a volunteer is pretty easy. For both Canadian Music Week and North by North East, you can simply apply on their respective websites. There are a lot of different positions, and you can choose from volunteering for the conference or the festival but I’ve always been partial to volunteering for the festival. I feel like I get the most out of it because the main perk I’m seeking is to be able to enjoy some live music – full stop. I’ve had a lot of people question this, and I don’t know what to say other than sometimes I’m just that simple: all I want are the feels that good music brings.

Lesson 1: Pay attention?
There is going to be a lot of information thrown at you and all of it is going to be important. Some of it is only going to be important to keep at the top of your mind, and not for every day use but you should still know it. You should also pay attention to the subtle ways that the volunteer coordinator and their team like to do things; even if it’s not the way you usually like to do things – making them feel at ease about your competency to do the job will go a long way. And I don’t mean that you have to read their minds; it’s okay to ask questions – but be careful that you’re not asking questions that have already been covered in the material they gave you. So: pay attention ๐Ÿ˜‰ and do your reading.

[As a stage manager or assistant stage manager] You also need to pay attention to the bands you’re dealing with, because the way they do things will vary as much as Toronto’s weather does. Some bands will prefer to do things via email and will have their own system for playing festivals down to a science, others may still need you to hold their hand3. The ability to pay attention to, and adhere to the subtle cues that people give you4, has been one of my favourite lessons learned from volunteering for these festivals. No matter what role you end up working, it’ll be good to pay attention to a lot of subtleties that will be everywhere.

Lesson 2: Things will go wrong
This is one that can be applied to life, but5 it’s so important to remember when working a music festival. With so many moving parts, it’s only a matter of time before something slips and/or falls into the cracks because life is beautifully imperfect like that. The most important thing I’ve taken away from this lesson is that the people who are in charge, whether that’s the volunteer coordinator or the festival coordinator or the programming coordinator, have given you guidelines for doing your job for a reason. You can deviate from their guidelines so long as the main objective is achieved, but if you miss the point and something horrible goes wrong – no one is going to be happy.

I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t had anything majorly bad happen while I was working as a stage manager6. I can only hope that with more experience, I can continue to avoid major catastrophes.

Lesson 3: Open your mind to new experiences
I usually ask to work every day of the festival, and even though I’ve been volunteering for so long I’m sure I could ask to work less so that I can take advantage of the free festival pass that I get and see some big name bands with my friends. I highly doubt I will be doing that though. You see, it’s just that I think it’s best to discover new music; listen to something you wouldn’t normally listen to when you go to a festival. I could be wrong, but I think that’s what these festivals were created for in the first place.

…which brings me to Lesson 4: Know your venue, and how to get there
When I volunteer, I don’t make requests about bands, nor venues to work with – to an extent. I do request to work venues that are closer to either my place of work or home so that I’m not too stressed trying to get to the venue on time. Stage Manager & Assistant Stage Manager shifts start as early as 5pm for some venues7, and if I have to trek across the city – I may not make it8. ย With NXNE, it’s pretty easy – I just hop on my bike and I know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get there.

Anywho, that’s all I have for now. I’m sure there are a few more lessons I’ve learned, and I’ll be sure to add them to another post when they come to me. If there’s anything you want to ask me about, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. You can also send me questions via the contact form on my Author page.

Happy volunteering!

Footnotes:
  1. and by now, I mean two weeks ago, but my blog-host decided to be a cunt so this post is a little late. you can thank them.[]
  2. or so we hope[]
  3. for example, bands who are not from Canada[]
  4. whether they are aware of it or not[]
  5. we are not talking about life right now[]
  6. actually, I do have a story but it is not my story to tell so I will have to save it for a face to face conversation; i.e. ask me next time you see me[]
  7. depending on what time doors open[]
  8. On the TTC? It is more likely that I will not[]

Here we go again, Hard as I try I know I can’t quit

[Lyrics borrowed from Demi Lovato for the blog post title]

CMW logo

My life is about to explode with some awesome Indie Rock music((most of the bands . It’s going to open it’s sweaty freakin’ arms and envelope me with its foot tapping, head bopping, awkward-shoulder shaking goodness for the next four days. Every year when I get my list of bands, I make it a point to sit down and visit every band page and listen to whatever it is I can listen to online.

I guess you could say I take my role as a Stage Manager pretty seriously; and I think that knowing who you’re working with is an extremely important part of it. It’s easier to work with someone when you understand something about them, even if you don’t necessarily understand them completely. What better way to understand someone than by finding some sort of common ground through music that they’ve put a lot of hard work into? I think so too ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t quite know what today actually has in store for me1 but I’m sure I’ll be able to steal away some moments to tweet a few things that may or may not be telling.

What does Canadian Music Week have in store for you?

Footnotes:
  1. because can never quite predict exactly what is going to happen in this world[]