Standing around in a muddy field last year at the Zurich OpenAir Festival, I couldn’t help but notice the hordes of people with backstage passes slung around their necks, scurrying to and fro behind the security gates, shouting into their phones and gesticulating. And while we festival-goers were clomping around (more or less) happily in the mud, behind the scenes a massive logistical operation was going on to ensure performers got to where they needed to be, when they needed to be. Who were these people?
I’ve always been as fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes as by what happens centre stage – as I observed, musicians don’t just turn up and perform or produce an album without a whole lot of help from all sorts of people who you never hear about – for example, roadies, sound engineers, instrument technicians, hairdressers, photographers, managers, promoters, journalists, record companies, catering people, press officers and more.
Why don’t we hear or see more from them? I want to know all the gory details from their side of the stage/computer screen/lens! Are they all, as rumoured, aspiring or once-aspiring musicians, or even particularly successful fans who have elevated their
obsession passion into a job?
So, I’ve come up with Left of Centre, a series of interviews that looks at some of the behind-the-scenes jobs in the music industry that help to create the images, performances and music that we as consumers so eagerly devour.