My Bay State Internship: Festival Fever
For Bay State College students, internships are more than coffee runs and endless copies. Bay State students engage in opportunities that apply to their education, allow them to network and provide them with a valuable understanding of the business and industry setting. My Bay State Internship series offers a glance at what students are achieving off campus by putting classroom theories into practice.
Name: Emily Benoit
Major: Entertainment Management
What was your internship?
I was the intern for James MacDonald of Six Chair Productions. Six Chair is a festival development and production company responsible for Festival at The Farm in Canton, MA. I was brought on to the project at the end of May, and stayed on until the weekend of the festival (September 16-17, 2017).
How did you land your internship?
The way I landed my internship was quite unconventional. My cousin and supervisor are old friends from college. My cousin mentioned to me that James was looking for an intern, and that was pretty much the end of it. I sent him a quick message on LinkedIn, and we set up what I thought was an interview. We met at a coffee shop, and he told me I already had the job, and the meeting was just so he could get to know me better.
What were your duties as an intern?
A typical day for me before the festival would involve a few different things:
- Tracking ticket sales through Ticketfly
- Scheduling/Posting content (videos, photos, and articles) to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that highlighted musicians, vendors, sponsors, and activities involved with the festival
- Meeting/Facetiming with my supervisor to talk about my efforts, as well as any updates on the festival in general
However during the festival, I had other duties:
- Keeping up with social media and interacting with patrons and vendors posting about the festival
- Checking in volunteers and supervising the volunteer tent
- Overseeing the VIP Experience space, which included maintaining cleanliness, replenishing supplies, and being on-hand for all VIP guests
What skills did you gain?
I really learned how to gauge people and how they handle specific situations. A festival weekend is very stressful, and sometimes things don't go right. Everyone is running around and juggling multiple duties, so it was important that I learned when to be there and when to beat it. I had one higher-up tell me she appreciated that I was able to find my own tasks to do, and I didn't linger around her when she was working. There is always work to be done, and I learned that sometimes it's not always right in front of me and I might have to seek it out. But I had another higher-up tell me he loved that I was always there when I was needed. Finding that balance not only makes you successful when working in festivals, but in any high-stress situations. Learning to read people and how you can be most useful to them is key.
What was the biggest mistake you made, and what was the outcome?
There was one week where I was busy with summer school, and then immediately went on vacation with my family for a few days. In that time, I completely forgot that I had not scheduled any social media posts to go out for the week. So, the platforms went bare. I felt so much guilt that I was scared to even apologize to my supervisor. He was very nice about the whole situation, though, so that was a relief. It's good to be around people who would rather give you a second chance to improve, than people who snap at you or kick you to the curb the first time you hiccup. I'm very grateful.
What was your favorite moment from your internship?
My favorite moment was when I went to the WERS radio station in August to sit in the studio and watch Brett Dennen give an interview promoting the festival. I was able to meet him for a second time, and watch a very intimate performance of a few of his most popular songs.
What advice do you have for someone interning with this company or a similar one?
This really goes for most internships, but be ready for your learning experience to not be the most important thing to your supervisor. While they are usually very nice about answering questions, and teaching you about things you aren't necessarily involved with, you have to remember that they are still doing a job, and a big one. In this industry, everything is incredibly fast-paced, and if they took the time to teach you something every time you were curious, they wouldn't get anything done. If you are interning somewhere where an event is the main focal point, save your questions for after it's passed.