Meet Australia's Jared Nelson - See What Goes On Behind Music Events!

Meet Australia’s Jared Nelson – See What Goes On Behind Music Events!

Jared Nelson

My name is Jared Nelson, I am a roadie and this is my story.

Did you ever look at the world around you and get a little jealous of the people who seemed to have very cool jobs? Then you realised you had no idea how to find those jobs because they were not advertised in the paper?

Well that was me. I knew there were cool jobs out there like sound producers and roadies. But when I looked in the paper, the job that came after sandblaster or salesperson was not “sound producer wanted – to be trained up to have the coolest job in the world”. Instead the next job was more like “Store person wanted – must be reliable and willing to move stuff around lots”.

So that was me. A young store person who dropped out of a chemistry degree to pursue big dreams. I wanted to become a musician or a producer, or both, but had no idea how to get there.

Dream Big

I had one thing going for me though, the ability to dream big, and that I did. I dreamt and wrote in my journal about being on stage in front of thousands of people who were cheering at me. It was real and vivid and I believed the sky was the limit in the music industry.

Jared Nelson

Fast forward a few years and I had the craziest déjà vu moment. I was on stage at the South Bound Festival in Busselton, Western Australia. It was often my job as a “lampy” or lighting system technician to climb the front truss on the main stage at a festival to “focus” or point the lights where the main act wanted them pointed. I had done this plenty of times before but this time was different.

As I climbed the steel rope ladder the crowd were cheering as loud as they would if the main band was about to play. As I acknowledged them, it hit me. This was my dream come true, my visualisations manifested. This feeling of déjà vu was real because I had already been here in my mind so many times in my youth. It felt like I had already seen this moment.

Persistence Pays Off

The things I know now about visualisation, mental scripts and manifesting your reality told me that I did not paint my dreams with enough detail and colour in my youth. The reality is, I found my dream job through a persistent desire to be a part of the music industry in some way or another.

I have worked at music related events for over ten years. I’ve had a back stage pass to some of the biggest, but also the smallest, concerts, festivals, parties and weddings that Perth and Australia has seen. I never need to queue, get my bag checked, be ripped off for drinks I don’t even like or most importantly use filthy toilets with queues longer than the line at Krispy Kreme launch day.

Of course, there have been some down sides too. It’s no fun being so under the pump that eating takes second place and you live on sugary drinks. Working excessively long shifts because every promoter in the world decided to put on a show over the March long weekend in Perth is no picnic either. Nor is dealing with the over inflated and non-compromising egos of the American touring crew for some really big name acts.

A Cool Job

So when I meet someone new and they ask what I do, I tell them that I set up concerts. The response is usually something like “That sounds like a cool job, do you get to meet the band?”

For the collective audience that has never been Behind the Wall of light and sound at a gig, yes, it is a cool job and sometimes you do get to meet the band. Often, though, it is the last thing that concerns you. Normally you simply feel happy or relieved that you met the deadline once again and “the show can go on”.

It’s a Workplace, But A Fun One

The truth is that artists work to a different schedule than the crew. They make an appearance for sound check and then disappear to their band room with their people where they will lay low until show time.

It is a workplace backstage. The atmosphere stays calm and artists rarely get drunk there. Everyone backstage has a job to do during or after the show. If you’re not doing something you find a place to stay out of the way and observe the show. Or if you’re tired, you can hide and try to sleep.

There is a lot of noise around the stage so little non-essential chit chat. If any, it usually relates to seeing a drunk punter or commenting on something that made you laugh. If you are off duty, random walks around the venue are common, in order to kill time until bump out.

For me the live music industry is a great community where I have met many friends and seen many great artists walk on and off stage. When I leave this earth, my memory will not be of which artists were the best. It will be of the mateship and sense of achievement in building show after show on time and keeping the fans happy.

THE LIFE OF A ROADIE

Jared Nelson

The Prep

We spend many hours planning, preparing and maintaining the equipment we use in live concerts and events. It’s simply a bunch of crew working together with our favourite tunes on, turned up loud.

You grab your prep list along with the stage plan and push all the road cases into a pile. Next comes a very important cable prep to suit the gig you are doing.

If you have the time you will label all the cases and prep the show as much as possible so it’s plug and play on gig day. This is a must for touring shows.

Once you are sure the prep is done, it’s all hands on deck to load the truck. This is the most physical part of the job because some of the road cases can be heavy.

The Bump In

Many hours, or even days, before a show starts, roadies all over the world are doing bump ins. The bump in is a fast paced, high energy event. This is where your leadership and expertise counts. It can make a hard day easier or an easy day a nightmare. There are three levels of crew.

Loaders – The crew who take instruction and help with all the lifting and lugging.

Local Tech Crew – The local suppliers of the “kit” who supervise the install and work to the plan of the touring crew/ band.

Touring Crew – these are the techs/ people who tour with the band and sometimes work directly for them. These people know the show in and out and are in charge of the gig. They have the final say on any changes that will be made.

The Bump Out

If you thought the bump in sounded crazy then the bump out is chaotic. It’s now dark and the drunk punters are everywhere. You have a bunch of random fatigued crew that you have to herd like sheep. Everyone has to get the kit back into the road cases and into the truck before the sun comes up.

The After Party

I’m sure you all have an image of sex, drugs, and rock and roll right? Wrong. Well mostly. Out of the thousands of shows I have done there has only been one percent of them where I have gone to an after party. Mainly because the party is happening while we are bumping out. This is a good thing, because the next day usually means the next show and the job is so much harder with a hangover.

My Mission

Behind the Wall offers real training that aims to get you real jobs. We also want to help you think long term and mentor you throughout your career. Firstly we will do this by staying in touch with the industry. In addition, we will always use current and experienced subject experts to deliver our training courses. Our courses are short and contain relevant information. This means they provide an immediate return on investment for participants by helping them earn money straight away. We offer two main courses, Roadie School and Band Camp. We target bands and people who want to work with bands to participate in our valuable short courses.

The Launch

As part of our launch we are crowdfunding the first Band Camp experience. This will give one lucky band an amazing boost to their career. We want to prove a concept and revolutionize the delivery of music industry training.

Share It You Legend

Jared Nelson is a 35 year old father of one who has a passion to help people become better versions of them self. Over the years he has tried his hand at many careers in many industries until he found his dream job as a lighting technician and a Roadie in Australia’s live events industry. Jared successfully ran a freelance lighting and events services for over 5 years before finding a renewed passion for training and development. In 2017 Jared launched, Behind the Wall. The business offers training, coaching, mentoring and consulting to the live events and other semi-skilled industries

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