After months of anticipation, this weekend will see the kickoff of the first Orlando Calling music festival at Citrus Bowl Park – and a select group of Full Sail Show Production students will be on-hand to help run one of the stages this weekend. The two-day event (Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13) is set to feature performances from a variety of artists, including the Killers, Kid Rock, the Raconteurs, Pixies, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Kid Cudi, the Roots, Iron & Wine, Gavin DeGraw, Drive By Truckers, Michelle Branch, and more.
Eight Full Sail students have been involved in the pre-production process for Orlando Calling’s Festival Republic Stage, which primarily features some of Florida’s best bands and artists, including Gainesville ska punk band Less Than Jake, soulful singer (and Full Sail Show Production grad) Kaleigh Baker, reggae/ska group the Supervillains, and hometown heroes like Andy Matchett and the Minks, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, and Big 10-4.
“These students are involved in the entire production process,” Show Production Advanced Concert Media Design Course Director John Sheldon says during a break from setting up the stage just days before the festival. “They’re building the stage, organizing gear, setting up the connections for the P.A., getting the lights up, and ensuring that everything interfaces properly. During the show they’ll be involved in every step of the process – not just mixing the sound, but moving band gear and interacting with the performers.”
Festival shows are a whole different kind of environment than normal show productions. With a full bill and very little time allocated to changing sets, things can sometimes get a bit frenzied backstage – which, Sheldon says, makes for an even better learning experience for students.
“It’s all very fast-paced, and organization skills are absolutely necessary for things to operate properly,” he continues. “With ten bands performing each day and just a few minutes available to figure out their technical needs, this is a big step for students. Our curriculum has always been about showing them how things are done in the real world, and it doesn’t get any more real world than this.”
There’s been buzz around campus regarding Orlando Calling for months, with past visits from festival co-founder Paul Lovett and promoter Festival Republic’s Managing Director Melvin Benn. In addition to the Show Production students’ involvement in the event, Full Sail students have also been majorly involved in the promotional aspect of Orlando Calling, helping to spread the word about the festival online and throughout the state via street teams and promotional campaigns.