Music festivals that employ students provide valuable experience


Festival goers dance during a live performance at BUKU Music + Art Project in 2018. Behind the scenes of the festival were numerous employees – many of them students – working to keep things running smoothly. ANGELO IMBRAGUGLIO / The Maroon. Photo credit: Angelo Imbraguglio

Loyola is known for its music industry program and the experience it prepares students with – much of which is gained off-campus.

Local New Orleans festivals such as Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, BUKU Music + Art Project and the legendary Jazz Fest provide employment opportunities for Loyola students to work throughout the duration of the festival. Although the experience is usually only a two-week job at most, its impact lasts much longer.

The behind-the-scenes work of these festivals is often done by teams of students who are eager to involve themselves in the process. Students perform a vast variety of jobs such as artist hospitality, photography, crowd event management, social media coverage and onstage setup.

All students, even those outside of music industry, have the opportunity to work at these festivals. Being employed by them means long hours, but also entails a quick way to make money on the weekends. Perhaps more lucratively, students who work the festival can see bands perform for free, allowing them to participate in the ambiance of the festival without economic strain.

For students who are budding young professionals interested in the music industry, employment at festivals can be a deeply valuable way to advance their career. They make connections and gain valuable experience in the inner workings of music festivals and live performances. Depending on interest, students can learn about festival setups, live audio and lighting production, concert photography and media coverage and even providing for individual artists.

One Loyola student who interned at Hangout Fest several summers in a row was given room for advancement. She was told that if she continued to intern at the festival, she would become a regular employee for the festival. This is true for many students who become invested in working at festivals – when they make connections in the industry, it can often lead to jobs post-graduation.

Living in New Orleans as a college student gives us unique opportunities to be both surrounded and immersed in a rich culture of music.

Through these employment opportunities from music festivals, students who are interested in the music industry have the opportunity to make connections, gain valuable experience and conduct themselves professionally. A perk? They can do this all while getting paid.

If you are a music student, or any student interested in the behind-the-scenes factors of a festival in any aspect, consider applying to work at a festival in the coming seasons. The experience may leave your feet exhausted from standing all day, but it will also leave you with insight into an industry and professionalism – as well as a smile on your face.