INDIANAPOLIS — Some 300 stagehands are helping throughout the College Football Championship weekend, according to International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 30.
Crews started transforming Monument Circle into a concert venue on Sunday and worked through the bitter cold on Friday.
“So this is day six of the build. We got it all pretty much tied up, just waiting for the acts to get here and start rehearsing,” IATSE Local 30 Vice President Gordon Atcherson said. He is one of about 60 stagehands working on the stage for Playoff Playlist Live!
“The best stagehands are the ones that are never seen, so a lot of people don’t know about our organization or what we do but these events don’t happen without us,” Atcherson said.
In the weeks leading up to kickoff — and throughout the weekend — stagehands, both local and from out of town, are building sets, manning audio and laying cables, among countless other things.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for months. It’s a really big thing for our city,” Atcherson said.
Set-up at the convention center started shortly after Christmas. Crews are also helping at Lucas Oil.
“We’ll have several people there from confetti to skycam to pyro, sound,” IATSE President Aaron Wineguard said.
Flashback to a year ago and work was hard to come by for stagehands.
“It was the Big 10 Championship for March of 2020, we’re setting up, leave that night and we get a phone call,’Hey everything is shutting down, it may be three, four even six weeks,” Wineguard said.
It was not until the city hosted the entirety of March Madness in 2021 that large event work returned.
“It feels great to be back, I’ll tell ya that,” Atcherson said reflecting back.
While there is always a worry when it comes to COVID-19 threatening to cancel events once again, Wineguard said the union is thankful for opportunities like this.
“The City of Indianapolis kind of investing in themselves and the convention center, allowing shows to come back in there has really helped us get back to work sooner than other cities,” Wineguard said.
After the last concert on Monday, the set will immediately be taken down and by Tuesday, Wineguard said, things on Monument Circle will be back to normal.