by Erin Vanderkarr
The Tri-C Jazz Fest is an annual event that features a multitude of performers, including Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) students, on multiple indoor and outdoor stages in downtown Cleveland. This summer’s Jazz Fest, held June 22-24 in Playhouse Square, showcased performers across three days and nights. Included in the outdoor lineup, Tri-C Jazz Fest Academy camp students were featured across two days on the William M. Weiss Foundation Next Gen Stage.
In addition to student performers, Recording Arts and Technology (RAT) program students were actively involved in all aspects of the performance, from assisting with building the outdoor stages, setting up the sound and lighting equipment, managing the change-over between bands, and assisting with the sound production. It was a wonderful opportunity for students to make connections and get a foot in the door in the sound industry. Having the experience shows off their skills, what they have learned, and continue to learn working at different gigs.
The way to get connected to working in the festival as someone “behind the scenes” would be through taking classes in the RAT program. Specifically, Concert Technical Production, which is a class that takes place at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. This class involves learning about live sound production, lighting, and setting up stages for live performances, all in a real-world environment. This prepares students to go out to work in other music venues, such as Agora Ballroom, or festivals like Tri-c Jazz Fest. After taking the class, students can get connected to such opportunities.
Overall, the 2023 Jazz Fest production was incredible, the RAT students got a lot of hands-on experience and Playhouse Square was a unique backdrop for the festival. The performers were lively and all around was a wonderful experience for everyone.