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It’s the Stage Manager’s Job.

Andy Robertson

When running a live music festival one of the most pivotal job functions is that of the Stage Manager. For a large music festival that could involve hundreds of artists and multiple stages and therefore multiple Stage Managers. They are responsible for pulling everything together so that the audience experiences a seamless performance.     

Stage Managers do not work alone, they are supported by teams of people who all contribute to make things happen. Unfortunately, should anything go wrong it is the Stage Manager who will take the brunt of any blame. So, what's involved in being a Stage Manager?

Naturally organised and assertive Stage Managers are capable of bringing together months of planning into a compressed timeframe. The event schedules and plans are key to a successful music festival and working closely with Artist Liaison Managers is vital to bring schedules together. Prior to the music festival the Stage Manager will coordinate with the event organisers and Artist Liaison Mangers to create a ‘Run of Show Script’ which includes detailed timing for all the artists. The Stage Manager will also have a contingency plan should anything go awry, it’s their job to keep the show going.

The Stage Manager monitors the scheduling of sounds checks and on the day of the event ensures that artists arrive on time, play their allocated amount of time and go on their way. Their primary function is the production of the event and as most music festivals will have Artist Liaison and Hospitality Managers, they should not have to get involved in dressing rooms and catering for example. For every artist the Stage Manager needs a stage layout plan so they know where instruments are to be located for band members along with coordination with light and sound engineers for an artist’s specific settings.

Although the Stage Managers is going to have a hectic time on the days the music festival takes place, they can make their life easier by thorough planning prior to the festival dates. This will include a complete understanding of the audio and lighting set up along with stage build and layout plans plus availability of staff and stagehands. Event organisers start planning for music festivals a year in advance with a complete schedule of what is planned to happen and when. It's important that the organisers get their Stage Managers involved early in the planning process. Schedules are always flexible and all parties involved need constant communication and collaboration to be aware of changes as they occur. The Stage Manager will use the organisers plans to create their own ‘Run of Show Plan’ with a full understanding of stage builds, logistics of equipment deliveries along with lists of artists and the light and sound equipment riders. 

Using an event software management platform like FestivalPro can help manage run of show schedules and provides detailed schedules for key staff like Stage Managers, Artist Liaison and Hospitality Managers. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has all the features and functionality a music festival event organiser needs to plan, schedule and collaborate with every aspect involved in running a successful event. 

Photo by Wolfgang from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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