Think back to the last concert that you went to (Remember concerts? Yeah, we miss them too!). Did you notice the people standing to the side of stage, watching the artists and bands carefully, or maybe even the people towards the back of the venue staring at complicated looking equipment?
These are the men and women who bring the light, sound and create the incredible atmosphere at concert events. We know them as roadies, technicians and production guys, but they’re the ones that make magic happen! We were fortunate to catch up with some of these amazing people to find out a little bit more about bringing live events to life.
Introducing, Ben ‘Cav’ Cavenagh, Nik Lyons, Christian McBride, and Rachael.
- What is your role in the Entertainment Industry?
Cav: Tour/Production Manager.
Nik: Lighting Designer, Rigger and Business Development Manager at sixt5 Productions.
Christian: Tour Manager, Stage Manager, Guitar Tech National/Globally (formally).
Rachael: Lighting Technician at Feld Entertainment, Touring with Disney On Ice.
- What has been your favourite event to work on?
Cav: Secret Garden Festival 2019
Nik: Aqua Tour 2021! 12 year old me was so excited!
Christian: Bluesfest has had some incredible artists over the years. I have stage managed artists including BB King, Santana, Iggy Pop and the Stoogers, the list is endless.
Rachael: Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic (UK & Euro Tour)
- What is your most memorable moment so far?
Cav: Delivering what was the final Secret Garden festival in 2019. Being the production manager of an event like that was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. From production theory, time management and one of the main things, people/relationship management. I will always be grateful to the Secret Garden family for trusting me in that role and allowing me to learn so much.
Nik: Being side stage while ZZ Top played. That’s one I’ll never forget.
Christian: Doing guitars for Paul Kelly on the Sydney Opera House steps in 2017.
Rachael: All the fun times I have with the cast and crew bringing our show to life every day.
- What is the best part about working in the Entertainment Industry?
Cav: For me I love being hands on in my work and I need to be around people while working. I can only handle working in the office for so long, so events are the perfect combination for me of both hands-on work and being surrounded by amazing people. I have formed lifelong friendships with so many people in the Live Music Industry, it is always such a good time bumping into friends and familiar faces on a gig or at a festival.
Nik: I mean, the shows are cool, but the people you get to work with are the best!
Christian: That magical moment when the artist walks on stage and the crowd goes wild.
Rachael: Being part of a group that brings so much joy to millions of people every year.
- Describe the people of the entertainment industry in 3 words?
Cav: Dedicated, Supportive, Family.
Nik: Awesome, Dedicated, Family.
Christian: Hilarious, Resilient, Generous.
Rachael: Dedicated, Passionate and Unwavering
- Advice for people that want to work in this industry?
Cav: Listen and ask questions. Respect the people that have been putting in the hard work longer than you and if you’re lucky (as I am) and find yourself under the guidance of seasoned pro’s don’t ever take that for granted. Also don’t get disheartened by someone else losing their cool, events can be an extremely stressful environment. Stay calm and respectful and you will go far.
Nik: Work hard. It isn’t going to be easy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, if you can find someone who’s been doing what you’re passionate about for a while MAKE FRIENDS WITH THEM! You’ll learn so much more from someone who does it every day than you ever will on YouTube. And don’t be arrogant. You’ll come into this industry thinking you know way more than you do, and the last thing everyone else wants is the new guy thinking he knows everything and wanting to jump straight to the top. Every guy or girl behind a console spent years pushing cases and coiling leads before they got where they are today, if you work hard and get good, then you’ll get there too.
Christian: Try everything. You might find skills in an area you didn’t realise you were good at and also one where you might be needed.
Rachael: If it is something you love and are passionate about then go for it!
- If you could be involved in any other role within the industry, what would it be?
Cav: Potentially artist management just to understand more of that side of the industry. There is a huge side that goes into contracting events and tours let alone album releases, recording deals etc that I have very little knowledge on.
Nik: I’m always up for a challenge, so I’ll keep pushing the boundaries of what I can do and see where it takes me. I’d love to light bigger and better shows as that’s where the passion started for me.
Christian: I would be a drummer playing the big stage.
Rachael: Pyrotechnics, who doesn’t love a good firework show?
- If you had to be locked in a room with one artist for a day, who would you choose? Why?
Cav: SAFIA. We have a very strong bond and I have so much love for those 3 crazy lads from Canberra, I’m sure we would last at least 24 hours together before the madness kicked in.
Nik: John Cleese. My Dad introduced me to comedy at a young age with Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, so he’s been an idol for a long time!
Christian: Thundercat (living). Frank Zappa (passed). Sorry that’s two.
Rachael: P!nk, the first concert I ever saw was hers and she’s always been an inspiration.
- What is your go-to drink after a gig?
Cav: Beer, namely the strongest IPA available.
Nik: Normally it’s a Red Bull as I’ve been roped in to driving the truck home. If by some miracle I’m not, then a delicious single malt scotch.
Christian: These days a peppermint tea in the hotel
Rachael: A beer or cider with the cast and crew.
- How has Covid 19 affected you? What have you learned about yourself/the industry during Covid 19?
Cav: It has obviously had a huge financial impact on the industry and almost every individual in the industry. On the positive side though it has enabled me to dedicate more time to my own self-care and focus on me a bit more. These two things should never be underestimated and are vital in a person’s mental health.
Nik: Business literally stopped dead overnight. We watched the calendar empty. Every phone call for 2 weeks was a cancellation. After that though, friends and colleagues started calling to check in. There’s been a real sense of comradery with the industry banding together to help each other through this. Lots of businesses (ours included) have adapted and innovated to bring income in from different places. It’s been inspiring seeing the ideas the industry has come up with to service new markets, or to service existing markets in new ways facing the challenges of a global pandemic.
Christian: Obviously all the gigs and touring has stopped but I’ve done heaps of study, made a TV show, and had so many conversations with friends social distancing. Realised how much I love the energy of shows and crowds.
Rachael: I lost one of the best jobs I ever had due to Covid 19, but through the pain I have realised how much I actually love my job and this industry and that there is absolutely nothing else I’d rather do.
- Which event that is now back on sale are you most excited to attend?
Cav: Would have to be Splendour in the Grass. Always runs well and is just a great time, with amazing crew and just the pinnacle of Aussie festivals.
Nik: I’m honestly just excited at the idea of getting to work on a gig again!
Christian: Tame Impala will be the show of the summer (fingers crossed).
Rachael: Frozen The Musical in December, fingers crossed it goes ahead!
- Where can people contact you or view your content/products?
Cav: firstname.lastname@example.org for all things touring or email@example.com for all of your production hire needs.
Nik: www.sixt5.com.au – for everything lighting, sound & video!
Christian: ‘The Roadie Show’ is a bit of fun us unemployed roadies have made. With great bands!