Editor's Note: For 10 entertainment industry students of Belmont University in Nashville, the summer of 2012 will include an experience they probably never dreamed they'd be getting school credit for: Being the road crew for a touring band (the Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie on the "Happy Together" tour), handling everything from loading gear to making sure the band gets paid.
The band's lead singer happens to be Belmont professor Mark Volman (a.k.a. Flo in Flo & Eddie), who recruited several students to act as the group's road crew. They'll be sending us edited blog posts and videos throughout the tour; to see much longer posts, head here.
Lauren Walsh, Assistant Road Manager, prepares and assigns artists' dressing rooms in Montgomery, Alabama.
"George Benson said it best: those who make it in the music business are the ones that survive it," says Dusty Hanvey, guitarist for the Grass Roots during a student interview. Lauren Walsh approaches this concept with optimism. "When life hands you lemons, just make some of that good ole' southern lemonade," she says while reflecting upon a dressing room-artist mix-up that she recently dealt with while working as assistant tour manager.
The nature of this tour calls for six dressing rooms at each venue. So most nights the venue's dressing rooms are at full capacity. At the Montgomery Performing Arts Center, in Montgomery, Alabama an artist's dressing room was not adequate for occupancy due to a loud buzzing from an air conditioning unit. With this problem not being found until after the artists moved in, it put Walsh in a tight situation having to relocate artists. "Acting as a road manager, it was my problem to fix because it is important as a road manager to make sure all the artists are happy, comfortable and are taken care of," says Walsh.
"I talked with my artist and explained the situation and made sure he was comfortable with being switched to the green room and all was good. It was neat being able to use skills to assess the issue, come up with a plan of action and then to make sure it was executed," says Walsh.
With the last show approaching, the seasoned team reflects on the past two weeks on the road. In the case of Emily Carver, an aspiring and active photographer, this experience has proved greatly beneficial. "Being a part of this tour experience has helped me gain insight on exactly how a tour is run, day in and day out. It has been liberating to have all access to a venue and go where I need to get a great shot or capture great footage of other students doing their assigned jobs," said Carver, an entertainment industry studies major.
Dusty Hanvey of The Grass Roots. (Photo: Emily Carver)
"Usually when I shoot a show, I email the band's manager or post to Facebook and tag the artist," said Carver, "I have never gotten the opportunity to talk with the artist directly about my work."
"I know I can take what I've learned on the road and apply it to my photography in the future," she said.
The work that Emily has produced from this trip will not only strengthen her portfolio, but through her newly acquired relationships with the subjects, her craft will be of value to the artists and their careers.