Sue Buzzard is a violinist from the east coast currently interning with The Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA through the Office of Experiential Learning *

So, yes.  Hiromi was fantastic on Friday Night.  And the view from backstage is awesome.  It’s like a whole different world back there, looking through the little peepholes they cut in the backdrop.

There’s so much to say about the 54th Monterey Jazz Festival, which has now come and gone.  Most importantly, I have to say that I had a great time – and I was able to do so thanks to my volunteers.  Figuring out how to distribute credentials and wristbands, and how to tell five different people every day what to do in order to get that done, has made me feel incredibly confident in my leadership abilities.  And I’ve learned more about volunteer coordination.  Don’t get a lot.  Just get a few good ones.  The good ones get to go backstage and see India.Arie.

Over the course of the weekend I grew more into my role as Production Intern and Problem-Solver for anyone who came through the door looking for passes and tickets and whatnots.  I went from relying completely on Bill Wagner for tasks and duties to having several people rely on ME for tasks and duties, and not needing to assist Bill with things during the festival.  Occasionally we’d pass each other in the office going different directions, and give a busy nod of acknowledgement, or I’d step into the office to send an email and he’d be there, putting out another fire.  I guess I’ll never really know everything that Bill had to deal with during the festival, but I can tell you it was a lot.

Bill had a lot of responsibility as Production Manager.  He arranged everything from the golf cart orders to the handheld radio orders.  Someone was looking for him every moment, asking where was this thing he requested to where was this box delivered.  Some materials for artists and artist hospitality went through Bill, including meals and backstage accommodations and hotel transport.  And when I say went through Bill, I mean Bill had the final word on a lot of orders since he set up the Dataflow system that everyone’s information was stored on.  The system was new to a lot of people, so if someone didn’t understand something, the go-to solution was to ask Bill.

So where did that leave me?  Well, once I got into the rhythm of handing out credentials and wristbands to who needed them, I taught everyone else how to do it and let them run the ship.  Greg Bosler was a friend of the festival and Bill, and he was assigned to credential/wristband duty as well.  I’m so glad Greg was there to ask the right questions and incorporate the right procedures for handing these passes out.

Also, he got me a birthday cake, so yay.  It was a raspberry vanilla cream-filled something, and I loved it and shared it around.  Greg had things under control in the credentials room, and I soon learned that you don’t need four people to do one job.  You need more than one, so that more than one person can be helped as they walk through the door, but too many people just makes things complicated.  So with my wonderful free time, I actually got out on the grounds and saw the festival! I saw acts, I visited the Berklee booth (Woot!), I smoothly walked backstage during several fantastic shows on the grounds, including Robert Glasper twice, and I took many many pictures and heard lots of beautiful music that often brought me to tears.

Instead of trying to tell you all my stories right now, here’s some more photos, and a promise that overviews of each day will follow.  Today was the last day to clean all our stuff out of the fairgrounds office and lawns.  I lifted lots of boxes today!  I also played plastic-wrap ball!

Don’t ask…

*Reposted with permission from Sue Buzzard


Read Sue’s Other Posts

Four Lessons from Monterey

Delegation Rocks!

Necessary Details?

The Dog Days are Just Beginning

Monterey Jazz Festival Intern



Sue Buzzard is a warrior of the acoustic string music revolution. Following her studies in classical and jazz music techniques in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, she studied a plethora of violin sounds at The Berklee College of Music.

Sue graduated with a double degree in Violin Performance and Professional Music in the spring of 2010, and has since been performing and seeking more ways to bring string music to the masses through production and education. Sue is on faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston starting this fall, where she will teach Jazz Violin.