The Event Coordinator Internship can be challenging but it is definitely rewarding!
For the fifth time in a row, nonprofit Greenpop hosts the solar-power Green Village. It is a part of South Africa’s favorite festival Rocking the Daisies, with more than 25 000 attendees. The Green Village is full of environmental activation, dialogue, and celebration featuring an array of exhibitors and artists. This setup needs a lot of managing, planning, and great teamwork. Luckily, three amazing interns support the Events Production Team from the beginning until the end! Anri, Alessandra, and Anton have different backgrounds and their own special story to tell. We follow them for one exciting day during their Event Coordinator Internship at this festival.
There are many reasons to do an Event Coordinator Internship. There’s twenty-two-year-old, vivid and euphoric Anri from South Africa. She finished her studies in Hospitality Management and wanted to get more practical experience. Anton celebrated his 19th birthday in his first week in Cape Town. He flew from Germany to the Mother City after he accomplished his A-level. He’ll be with Greenpop for about 7 months. Anton doesn’t have a background in events but took a year off before studying. He just wants to help Greenpop in any way he can and gain international experience. The Italian soul Alessandra came to South Africa to complete her internship abroad for her studies in Economics in Milan.
Early in the Morning
6:30 am / Birds twitter is a sign for Anton to wake up and get ready for the day. He steps out of his tent and feels the wet soil. Anton speculates what will happen today since no two days are the same for an events intern. You never know what to expect and this is exactly what makes the job so interesting for him. He can’t stand monotone days sitting in the office working on his laptop.
7:00 am / The sun is still rising. Anton enjoys his first coffee of the day and is about to set up the stage for the first artist: Morning Yoga at 7:30 am. He does a general check-up of the Green Village and makes sure everything’s in order for another new, beautiful and productive day.
7:25 am / Yoga session is about to start and Alessandra is already backstage preparing drinks and morning snacks for the first artist of the day. Anri and Alessandra are responsible for greeting and welcoming the artists, showing them around and provide general guidance. Rocking the Daisies wants to be the greenest festival in South Africa, so the interns also need to collect travel information from the artists in order to report back about the carbon footprint to the festival organization. Their shifts are rotating and they support each other wherever they can. Alessandra does the morning shift today starting at 7 am while Anri takes over the afternoon shift. You will usually find them somewhere in the Green Village or mainly backstage. They check if the schedule is on track and everything has its order. Alessandra is available for arriving artists, makes them feel comfortable and hopefully less nervous or stressed before they enter the stage.
“It is really exciting to be so close with actual musicians and performers. Honestly, it is the first time in my life where I actually feel useful and needed at work. The events manager, my supervisor and especially the artists rely on me and time passes by too fast because I empathise with every single performer and it feels like I am part of the band.” – Anri
8:30 am / Anton and about 35 other people joined the Morning Yoga session at the Green Village and afterward the Greenpop team gets together for a quick check-up and reflection of the past day. He and the rest of the Greenpop team arrived ten days before the start of the festival to set up the Green Village and everything else. During set-up, his length (note: Anton is about 1.90 meters tall) comes in handy when anything needs to be fixed (e.g. light bulbs, tent poles, decoration).
Anton loves the diversity of the Events internship. He is involved in all kinds of tasks from administrative planning before the festival, designing a PowerPoint presentation, picking up the bakkie (note: bakkie is South African for a pick-up) from the nursery, loading the bakkie, making cost calculations, exchange information with other departments involved, assist with on-site logistics during the event, strike after the event and of course wrapping everything up when back at the Greenpop office.
A busy Afternoon
12:30 pm / It is almost lunchtime and Anri starts her day with a delicious burger from Fry’s Burger Bar at Green Village. Alessandra can take a break now but not before the two quickly discussed what happened so far.
There are lots of people and many festival attendees relax on the bamboo mats, play checkers, enjoy smoothies and listen to the African band The Little Kings. The next performer arrives and Anri guides them to the backstage area where they have their own lounge and chill area, a safe for their valuables and a secured area for the instruments. Anri brews a pot of sustainable agricultural coffee for everyone backstage and is having one cup with the singer of the band.
Anri is always available for all questions, any emergencies, and needs behind the scene. In this short time frame, she builds up a trustful relation with the artists supporting anybody on any occasion. The Little Kings just finished their gig and Anri is now guiding them through the festival area to find the right ‘artist’ exit and check-out. On this huge festival ground, you’ll easily get lost and that’s why Anri escorts the performers.
16:00 pm / Every afternoon the entire production team meets for a check-up and see if everything is in order and going well. After that Anton is off for the day to enjoy the festival and an ice-cold beer. His main task was setting up the Green Village before the festival. He helped to build the stage, created hand-made plant decorations, painted amazing signs or other massive artwork and more. The pre-production phase is now over and the actual festival has started. That means time for Anton to meet up with friends, check out stages or take an afternoon nap.
A well-deserved relaxed Evening
19:00 pm / After a long day of hard work and running around, Anri takes a break in the afternoon to swim in the dam. It was good to do a quick get-away from all the loudness of the festival. In the meantime, Alessandra cooked for the whole crew, which was quite a job. Good meals are important for an event production team. Obviously, the Italian loves cooking but preparing a meal for more than 25 people at the same time can be very intense and hectic. However, at the end of the day, the Greenpop team was satisfied and there was always someone to jump in and help out. Her pasta was amazing!
21:30 pm / Hemp Stage is still going strong! Alessandra but also Anri are done for today. Finally! Their job as a backstage manager is hard work, but very satisfying. Today the Green Village was running smoothly and successfully until the sun goes down. Now they can enjoy themselves and luckily Flume is playing at Main Stage later. They’ve been crazily awaiting this concert.
You can find Anton at the Hip Hop Stage, jumping and dabbing around. Afterward, he goes back to his tent, happy and exhausted after a heavy but fun day that went from sunrise to sunset. He is excited about the next morning running another aesthetic bit and piece that comes with a new festival day. At the end of the day, he knows why he committed to this even though he is totally exhausted.
“I appreciate working with a group of people that want to make a change and a positive difference. They care even when it’s an inconvenience. This gives me so much more and personally enriches me. I will never regret my experience behind the scenes and wouldn’t want to do anything else.” – Anton