Backstage with Robinson ’17 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Backstage with Robinson ’17

Eager to break into the music business, media and society major Nate Robinson ’17 is working behind the scenes this summer as a production and operations intern for Live Nation Entertainment, an American entertainment company based in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Fortunate for Robinson, Live Nation operates through performance venues across the country to produce rock and pop concerts, including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., just minutes from his home where he reports to work. Recently ranked No.1 for “Best Outdoor Venue” by USA Today, the esteemed performance space in the Capital Region of New York attracts some of the best talent in the industry, offering Robinson comprehensive insight into how world renowned shows like Def Leppard and The Dave Matthews Band are orchestrated backstage.

Live Nation is a global leader for live entertainment. The company acts as a parent to four major companies, including Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, Artist Nation, and Live Media & Sponsorship. Ticketmaster, the popularly known ticketing vendor, boasts more than $400 million in ticket sales to date for over 180,000 events, some of which Robinson has had the privilege of working on.

“Learning about the music business on a firsthand basis is priceless,” says Robinson, an avid drummer in jazz and wind bands throughout high school. “I’m setting up dressing rooms for visiting performers, acting as a liaison between tour and venue producers, setting up phone and internet lines in the visiting producer’s temporary offices, and making sure tour production has everything they need from us. Experiencing the music business firsthand rather than just reading about it is what I appreciate most. Everyone involved puts forth the maximum amount of effort it takes to surpass consumer expectations for the few nights they are here.”

Filling dual roles in production and operations, Robinson is tasked with balancing his work between the two departments. On the production side, his work focuses on the logistics and details it takes to put a contract together between tour personnel, production managers and general managers of the venue. On the operations end, he aims to ensure that everything the consumer sees inside and outside the venue aligns with the expectations of Live Nation.

Working mostly weekends, Robinson has been awakened to the unconventional time commitment necessary for such events. “I’ll work from 7 or 8 in the morning at load-in until the end of the show, which sometimes can be 3 or 4 the next morning.” Wanting to see what it takes to make a career in the business for quite some time however, Robinson shakes it off as just a small trade-off for being able to work in a field that he is most passionate about.

“I love seeing how everybody from stagehands to tour managers and producers work together just to create the most intimate and rockin’ show they can,” Robinson says. “Everything is so smooth. Everything is very sharp.”

In early September, Robinson will return to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for a weekend to help produce a show for the Zac Brown Band. During his remaining two years on campus, he hopes to continue participating in HWS Live, a club that promotes and supports live music on campus. He also plans on continuing to produce for smaller bands in the area to perfect his skills and get his name out to larger audiences.

Looking ahead, Robinson expresses interest in taking his passion for music oversees, producing music events on an international scale. “That’s the eventual goal,” he says, “but I am willing to take any opportunity that comes my way.”