Monday, September 26, 2016

Leading a gig

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At SJT, members are encouraged to sign up to be in charge of festival gigs.  We do several of them a year, and often the same ones each year.  There's usually a lot of people who have done that gig before and at least one Staff member at each of those gigs, so there's support if people need it.

When one of us does this, it gives a nice break to Staff.  We take charge of creating the set, placing personnel, leading the practice for the gig, coordinating travel, and being the contact for whomever's in charge at the festival.

But there's a secondary benefit to this that is sometimes overlooked.  When you lead a gig, you get to see what it's like from the "other side", and gain a new perspective.

You'll gain a respect for how difficult it can be to balance parts, making sure that people get a good distribution of parts and accounting for a variety of skill levels and experience.  Sometimes it's even more complicated if the stage is an odd or smaller shape.

You also might get to see what it's like when issues arise that you don't normally think about.  It could be anything from people showing up late, to people not liking the parts they're given, to figuring out who's driving, to forgotten equipment, to getting stuck in traffic, and lots of other possible curve balls.

Once I started helping out with gig-leading, it made me a lot more tolerant of other gigs I played in.  I became aware that there might be factors I had no clue about (that Staff was dealing with before we ever got there), and if I got a spot or spots I wasn't thrilled with, I had a reason to believe there was a purpose to it.

So maybe you're not in a position to take charge of a gig, but it's really good to consider all the things that the people who do take charge might have to deal with.  Being reliable and accommodating as a player can be a real plus for the people who might be stressing out on details you'll never know about!

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