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Monday, August 5, 2013

The Secret Operations of The Pavilion

I remember my first concert. I was nine years old and my mom was taking me to see the Spice Girls. I was so excited that I picked out my clothes weeks before (lavender bell bottoms and a black crop top). I never forgot that night because I remember being so amazed at all the show had to offer. I’m not talking about their crazy outfits. It was the setup of the stage and the lights that really captivated me.

Fast forward to 2010 and I'm at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion for the first time. My sorority sister and I came to see Kings of Leon and I remember being captivated all over again. Although this time it was not with the performers I was captivated, but with The Pavilion itself.

Being the curious person I am I naturally began to wonder how this place works. After all, the venue doesn’t just take care of itself. So here it is, ladies and gentleman. The inside scoop on how The Pavilion brings you all those amazing shows.

What Is Operations?

The operations department is a division of The Pavilion that handles the day-to-day, show-to-show tasks. The biggest responsibility of the staff is to ensure that The Pavilion is maintained and that each show runs smoothly in a clean and safe environment. Operations consists of many different people that help to facilitate this process. Here are just a few roles that are vital to the operations department.

The Vice President of Operations is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating all activities and personnel engaged in maintaining and operating The Pavilion. He oversees venue sponsorships with Live Nation and coordinates all of the venue’s productions with Live Nation and touring artists.

The VIP and Event Coordinator assists the Vice President of Operations, Director of Premium Seat Sales and Event Manager. This includes preparing all season ticket invoices and correspondence as well as all event announcements, day of show emails and event updates to season ticket holders and board members. Also responsible for scheduling event staff, data entry of all new-hire information, setting appointments for interviews, interviewing applicants and assisting with employment open house.

The Box Office Manager and Assistant Box Office Manager primary responsibilities consist of managing the day-to-day operations of the Box Office, event builds, event settlement and accounting support.

The Event Manager’s primary objective is to maintain a safe, secure and efficient environment for our staff, guests and artists.

The Operations Manager and Assistant Operations Manager are responsible for the day-to-day operations of managing maintenance (plumbing, electrical and mechanical), lawn and grounds. They oversee the cleaning aspects of The Pavilion.

The Director of Premium Seat Sales is responsible for the sale and servicing of all VIP box seating and season ticket sales for The Pavilion.

From Preparation to Show Time

Every show starts with the advance. Whether it’s a performing arts show or contemporary concerts, it’s all about figuring out what the show requires. The Pavilion brings in an outside company to provide all of the necessary equipment. When the needs have been met, the operations department speaks with the production managers and begins figuring out all the details. Things like rehearsal dates, lights and video are all part of the beginning stage of a show.

The event manager is a key part in what makes The Pavilion run like a well-oiled machine. The event manager oversees the event staff. That consists of security, ushers, ticket takers, lawn chair staff, parking and law enforcement services. In preparation for each show a log is created, assigning each staff member to designated areas in The Pavilion. On the day of the show the event manager attends the security meeting. During the security meeting a review of the security rider (an information sheet sent in by law enforcement with what policies need to be in place for each performance). After that meeting, the event manager has a meeting with each event supervisor and briefs them. The supervisors then take the information back to their team and get them in place for the show. Once the gates are fully staffed (this includes ticket takers, security, law enforcement and medics) the gates are open and the show can officially begin.

It goes without saying that there is much more that goes into putting on a show. It's more than I could ever have imagined and more than I could possibly fit into this blog. Now that I have seen how much the operations department puts into the shows, I have found a greater appreciation for not only the performances I’ve seen but the venue itself. It’s nice to know that The Pavilion works so hard to make each show a great experience.

So from the little girl in the lavender bell bottoms, thank you.

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