Strings Music Festival: Bravos for another successful summer season |

Strings Music Festival: Bravos for another successful summer season

Strings is thanking Steamboat Springs for a great season. Visit for a complete list of fall and winter events.
Courtesy photo

It takes an army of people to run a nonprofit music festival in the mountains, and now that the summer season is over, it’s fitting to say “thank you” and “well done” to each of those amazing people. But just like the old days of unrestrained Oscar speeches, I imagine that this is not an especially interesting thing to sit through. I’m already fidgeting in my seat.

In lieu of a maddening and specific list of bravos where my end-of-season, Swiss-cheese brain will inevitably leave someone out and make me feel terrible, here are a few sketches of some of the dedicated people who make a music festival sing:

Visiting artists

From soul singers and rock ‘n’ roll guitarists to violinists, pianists and country singer-songwriters, our visiting artists are the famous faces — and sounds — of the festival.

Board of directors

The volunteer board is charged with fiscal responsibility, oversight and guidance for the executive staff. Board members serve seven-year terms and are vital to Strings’ success as a nonprofit organization.

Guild and volunteers

These two groups go hand in hand. The volunteer guild has two enormous tasks: scheduling Strings’ 400-plus volunteers and organizing the largest annual fundraiser: the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour. The volunteers operate as event assistants, taking tickets at the Pavilion, manning (or womaning) the Kitchen and Garden Tour locations and helping with Strings’ other special events around town.

Administrative staff

Strings has a full-time, year-round staff of eight. They are tasked with running the business of the festival, from the cocktail-party-chat-worthy stuff — artist bookings and riders, fundraising, music education programs, community outreach — to the boring-but-necessary stuff like payroll taxes, workers’ comp insurance, bill paying and office supply orders. Box office personnel and house managers round out the administrative staff any time there is a performance at the Pavilion.

Strings production staff

Two administrative staff members are also production staff members — the production Director and audio engineer. Doing double duty in the summer months is par for the course at a music festival. From mid-June to mid-August, Strings adds four more production professionals to help navigate the technical bits of a busy summer season: lighting director, recording engineer, assistant audio engineer and stage manager (hi!). In the winter season, a lighting director, stage manager and assistant audio engineer are booked for each individual show.

Facilities assistants

Facilities assistants — FAs — are tasked with helping the house manager prepare the Pavilion, grounds and parking lot access for up to 550 audience members for each show. Most summer weeks have at least four performances in the Pavilion, and Strings’ small cadre of FAs is busy before and after each show adding or removing chairs, setting parking markers, checking on restroom supplies and helping patrons find the café, the box office and their seats. FAs are also nominally in charge of driving the golf cart around the grounds, which they do as gleefully as possible.


Did you think I had forgotten about you, Steamboat? Without an audience, a show is just rehearsal.

I know that all of the people in the groups above join me in thanking you for coming to shows, for loving music in its many forms and for being a vibrant, welcoming audience. Without you, there would be no Strings Music Festival.

In all honesty, the end of the summer season is really the beginning of the winter season. It’s a far cry from the pre-2008 days when the tent came down and the grounds returned to grass — then snow — and silence until the next summer. There will be something happening in the Pavilion every month leading up to summer 2018, so the staff, board, guild and volunteers are really just taking a quick, two-week-long breather before the first fall show.

Thanks for a great summer, Steamboat! See you in the fall…

Ali Mignone is the stage manager for Strings Music Festival, among other things. When she’s not telling roadies and musicians what to do, you can find her hiking, biking or skiing around the Yampa Valley and blogging at

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