One on One with Stage Coordinator, Sam Jackson

We as audiences usually tend to disregard all the behind the scenes labor that goes into extravagant shows and concerts at major venues because we don’t see it. There are many who put in their hard labor to make these highly entertaining shows possible. I recently sat down with a very funny friend of mine, Sam Jackson, who works for Austin’s Frank Erwin Center. When I asked him about his job description he told me, “My job is to set up the stage each morning when the performers’ trucks arrive and take it down once the show is over.” The picture to the right gives a visual to how setting up a stage might look. This unrecognized job allows Sam to work closely with many big names in entertainment. Although indirectly, Sam has worked for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, the Gorillas, and for special events such as UFC and WWE.

Pretty amazed, I asked him if he was able to meet any of them or had any cool stories to tell. He told me, “After her show, Taylor Swift was nice enough come back out and thank us for the hard work we do. She seemed very genuine and friendly compared to other performers”. Sam also told me a very cool story how he didn’t know at the time, but was thanked by rapper, MC Hammer! Sam explained, “After a UFC fight when I was moving a crate backstage and this man was in my way and I asked him if he could move. He enthusiastically jumped out-of-the-way and said “Yeah I’ll move out-of-the-way! If it wasn’t for you none of this would be possible!” Afterwards a friend of mine asked me what he said and obliviously I told him and let me know that, that man was actually MC Hammer!” We then got around to talking about celebrities who are not so friendly. When I asked him about any bad stories he let me in on “the other side” of Rush (pictured bottom left). “After their concert before they were leaving to their limo they made us stop working, exit the building, and stand 100 feet away from the building. It really pissed us off. Some celebrities just do not want any workers close to them thinking they will get bothered or asked for an autograph.” When working with arrogant celebs and late hours I asked him there are times when he doesn’t like his job. Sam told me that there are gonna be those nights, but that he likes his job because it is flexible. He actually gets to pick the shows he wants to build and the pay is not so bad either! So next time you’re at a show be sure to remember the people who are working hard to make it possible.

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