OUABehind the Scenes with Abby Hickey!
I joined the Ohio Union Activities Board, immediately after transferring to the Ohio State University in the fall of 2018. After a few short months of growing more involved and rooting myself in the OUAB community, I began to understand my passion for music and live entertainment could and would have a lasting place in my life.
I began inserting myself as an audience member in conversations concerning the brainstorming and booking of artists, venues, and sponsorships between the Director of Concerts at the time, the respective agents, and other key stakeholders. I became deeply interested in the execution of large scale concerts and their impact on our campus community. When Big Spring Concert came around in April, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be the Project Lead.
This role was a huge undertaking and felt a little like the moment when you’re learning how to ride a bike and the person holding onto you lets go. The task felt impossibly large, I was forced to dive all in quickly so I didn’t fall. As soon as I was assigned to this position, I began creating a volunteer team comprised of the executive board and general members. Each person was placed in a rotation of positions where they helped escort students through the gates, manned sponsorship tables, and monitored the crowd to ensure attendees remained safe. I also helped secure sponsorship tables from community organizations and a silent disco for students to participate in when artists were not performing.
The bulk of my job as Project Lead came in on the day of show. My day started at 5:30 AM with a quick drive in a twelve passenger van to John Glenn International Airport to pick up Jay Rock and his team and take him to his hotel. This was followed by a morning and afternoon jumping back and forth between classes, the Ohio Union, and the venue checking in on sound checks, finalizing permits, and greeting and organizing sponsorship tables. About 40 minutes before doors opened, I gathered all of the volunteers and security personnel to debrief our safety and emergency plans for the show. At the end of this meeting, we sent the group to their posts to prepare for the flood of students.
From the time we opened the gates to the 2,000 student attendees, to the time the gates closed for the night, we all ran on pure adrenaline and excitement. I organized meet and greets with the artists between sets, volunteer breaks for food, and volunteer rotations so no one got fatigued in any given role. I monitored the crowd to make sure any attendee that was not well got to medical tents for care. At one point, I was even running around searching for a missing Ohio State flag that Cheat Codes wanted on stage. And the night was not over when the music stopped. The end of my role included corralling students and getting them out of the venue, breaking down terraplast, rolling 50 garbage cans back to the parking lot for pick up, cleaning dressing rooms, breaking down tables and tents, and getting it all back to the Ohio Union.
While this experience was stressful and a huge undertaking, it opened my eyes even wider to the world of live entertainment. I genuinely feel I would not have begun to pursue a career in the music industry had I not been exposed to its intricacies on the OUAB concerts committee.