The number one question I hear when someone finds out I drive the bands around at Rock The Garden is:
“How the (expletive) can I get a job like that!?” Actually, the process is quite simple.
Deep inside the corridors of The Walker Art Center is a small room that contains a broken golden harpsichord. When WAC’s Performing Arts department is in need of a nuanced and compassionate Production Assistant, they collectively brush their hands against a few specific strings. All you have to do is recognize the particular vibrations and meet them at the correct unspoken space and time. For me, the experience happened something like this:
Me: (cautiously approaching my buddies): “So… I think I’m gonna move to Minneapolis.”
West Coast Musician: (approvingly) “Prince is from there.”
West Coast Musician’s Girlfriend: (amazed) “Target is too…”
Naturally, I moved to town for yearly tributes to the gods of rock.
Today, my fellow PA Jesse Leaneagh and I will be picking up bands from the airport, listening to their stories of being on the road, answering questions about Minneapolis (“So, how many people live here?… How cold does it really get?”) all the while trying to prepare them for this ‘little’ midwest rock show that brings 11,000+ people and is an impressive orchestration of solid work from the Walker staff. They always leave quite impressed with the event: the crowd’s enthusiasm, the a excellent outdoor venue, and especially the stellar Tech staff that bring them the best possible support.
We drivers have a little trick in our back pocket we like to call The Glory Lap. If a band needs a pep talk, nothing wakes them up after a long flight (aside from the Sugar-Free Red Bulls they request) than a drive around the perimeter of the site, starting with a view of the hill from the top. It’s a cool scene indeed, an impressive stage/vendor set up, with the skyline as a backdrop.
Since I probably won’t have this blessed job forever, I took advantage of an opportunity to document this experience. I will be posting from time to time throughout the weekend to give you the inside scoop. You, the reader, can ask yourself questions like, “What is it like backstage and on the road?” – “Do the artists sing in the van or ask for blue M&M’s?” or “Did this guy luck into this gig or is his presence more like manifest destiny?” And hopefully I’ll have the answers!
See you at the big show,