By Ali Mignone

At the beginning of this Strings season, everything backstage was shipshape, ready to go and accessible – supplies were stocked, cabinets were organized, cables were coiled and hanging on the wall separated by type, tools were neatly stored.

But the busy summer changed all of that. A lot.

Now, at the end of August, the backstage technical areas look like a tornado has been through. The toolbox doesn’t close anymore; we’re down to one roll of precious black gaff tape (which I’ve hidden); cables are naughtily mixed together with microphone lines sharing hooks with speaker lines and the odd extension cord mixed in; and the cabinets in the kitchenette send down an avalanche of plastic baggies, paper cups and bags of pretzels if anyone dares to open them. Credible sources suggest that even in the office, home to the movers and shakers of the Strings full-time staff, the chaos of running a summer festival shows itself in over-stuffed drawers and dangerous potential slide conditions in the overheads.


Strings backstage mess1

Random assortment of questionable items













And the stage itself is looking a little rough, too. Thankfully, there’s no way to know exactly what makes up stuff that falls off drum carpets and coats every surface in fine white dust. Ignorance makes mopping up easier. Or at least less alarming. Unfortunately, I’m perfectly aware of what comes out of a trumpet spit valve onto the stage.

Strings Music Festival stage

Can you tell which side is clean and which is dirty?










So the staff and crew are cleaning up this week. We’re sorting and tossing, recycling and tidying up so that the building and stage will be ready to go when the holiday concert season arrives. It’s the professional equivalent of taking care of your toys so they last longer.

Strings Music Festival cleanup

How does all of this stuff fit in our tiny storage area?










Ali Mignone is the Stage Manager at Strings, bringing 20 years of experience in the theater world and in arts/business administration. Ali recently moved to Steamboat from Connecticut, and she’s frantically cramming in all the hiking and biking she can do before ski season–when she plans to be stealing powder from sharing powder with the amazing people she’s met here. When she’s not backstage or outside, Ali works as a Senior Consultant for Theatre Projects Consultants and as a freelance writer and editor.

Posted on August 22, 2013
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