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May 2, 2018

Starting Nature’s Party

Robin Williams once said that spring was nature’s way of saying “Let’s Party.” While we wouldn’t be in this industry if we didn’t like a party, we acknowledge that Stageline’s annual Spring Training workshop is kind of the opposite. It’s a lot of work and a lot of learning, and if you’re not one of our stage tech or Stageline stage owner, you might not think it was a fun way to spend a week.

For freelance operations manager Ronan P. Daly, it made perfect sense. With a background in audio and lighting that he’s expanded into VIP, Artist Hospitality, and other production specialties, Ronan has built his career around festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella in the US, and WayHome and Boots and Hearts in Canada.

“Ninety percent of the festivals I work with have a Stageline unit,” he says. “Typically, any larger festival that has four or five stages, and easily half of those are Stagelines. For me, it’s a name that I’ve known for a long time.”

So he made the trip this year, along with many others, to learn the art and science of building a stage. Stageline’s Spring Training has been something he’s been trying to get under his belt for a while now, but the timing was tricky—like the Easter Bunny, Stageline’s Spring Training workshops happen but once a year in the spring.

“The reason I took the course is to just get into a deeper realm with production. It’s been on my to-do list the last few years, but I was at Coachella, which is a month-long commitment,” Ronan says, “I’m glad I finally did it. It was incredible.”

He says, the obvious highlight of the course is learning how to build the stages.

“But the best part for me was learning to understand the company and the people behind it,” Ronan explains. “What Stageline did really well, and what was really nice, was the effort they put in having us meet the people who work at the company. Little things, like when we’d come in for lunch or get coffee in the morning, there would be people [from the company] around and it’s a good way to get to know them. That took it from just a piece of equipment that I’d work on to having a deeper connection to the company.”

This year’s Spring Training was the second round for Josh Clark, logistics coordinator for Chicago’s Technotrix. While Technotrix owns an SL320, they book SL100s and SL250s for MSR Mobile Stage Rentals in the Midwest US. With that staging capacity on hand, Josh and Technotronix service events like Spring Awakening and Riot Fest in Chicago, and the massive college-music event #Fest in Athens, Ohio.

“We do maybe 100 events a season,” Josh explains. “We’re coming up on the busy season, and we’re about to have lots of events. We just figured it would be easier the more people we had that were trained to be able to go in various locations if we’re having multiple events. There were a couple of times last year where we had more than one 320 being built and we needed people to be all over the place at one time.”

As a return customer, Josh got to experience two versions of our southern-Quebec spring. Last year, when he learned the SL100 and SL250, he got the version of spring that’s frigid and rainy. This year, while he learned the SL320, it turned out a little sunnier.

“I enjoyed this year a whole lot more,” he laughs.

Immediately on finishing the course, he reports, he flew from Montreal to #Fest in Ohio and built the SL320 on which R. L. Grime, Marshmello, and Lil Uzi Vert would perform for 13,000 college students.

“Spring Training was great,” he says. “Stageline is the easiest version of a stage you’re going to find!”