Published Oct 21, 2015Promotional consideration provided by Ontario College of Trades
The live music industry generates more than $455 million a year in economic activity, much of it in Ontario, and the sector is experiencing strong growth. Many festivals and concerts are now multi-day events built around significant infrastructure.
With tens of thousands of fans flocking to these venues, today's music festival more closely resembles a temporary community, with staging, lighting and sound, campgrounds, washrooms, shower trailers, medical services and battalions of food trucks.
Ryan Howes, Festival Producer for Republic Live, explains that "when you produce a music festival, you literally have to build and run a small city. And that means you need a lot of skilled tradespeople working on site."
Republic Live's WayHome and Boots and Hearts festivals, held this past summer, each employed about 250 skilled workers. "These people are in-demand, because without them, the major festivals and concerts wouldn't be possible," Howes notes. "They make good money, and they get to work in an industry they love."
The Ontario College of Trades (the College) wants young people in the province to be aware of these opportunities. For those who are passionate about music, a skilled trade can be a backstage pass to an exciting career.
"Even if you can't hold a tune, play an instrument or write a song, you can still be part of the music industry by working in the skilled trades that support the festivals and concerts," says Sherri Haigh, Director of Communications and Marketing at the College.
There are dozens of skilled trades associated with live music events — heavy equipment operators, general carpenters, electricians, truck and coach technicians, cooks, hairstylists and many others.
To spread the word, the College has launched Tune In, Trade Up. The campaign targets the 15 to 29 age group in Ontario — those who will soon be entering the workforce or are looking for a new career direction. It includes a new video, filmed behind the scenes at WayHome and Boots and Hearts, that showcases the people and the trades who make these events happen. Check it out here.
Other elements of the campaign include: a webpage — earnwhileyoulearn.ca/tunein — featuring interactive information about skilled trades through the lens of the music industry, how to get started in the trades, and contests for those who want to learn more.
"By apprenticing in one of Ontario's skilled trades, they can earn while they learn, and be part of an industry they are passionate about," says Haigh.