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‘Big game of Tetris’: Stage crew prepares for Country Thunder music festival

‘Big game of Tetris’: Stage crew prepares for Country Thunder music festival
First and foremost, Craven weekend is about music and the people who love it. A big part of making some country magic falls to the stage crew. Christa Dao takes us behind the scenes now, to see what it takes to make some "country thunder."

It’s a production hours in the making, as a crew of more than 50 men and women worked tirelessly to setup the main stage at Country Thunder music festival in Craven, Sask.

Crews were busy setting up country music artist Blake Shelton and Old Dominion’s equipment early Friday morning.

Stage manager Kenny Cresswell said everyone needs to be on the same page this weekend to create some music magic.

“I call it the big game of Tetris, because you’re fitting a lot of equipment in a small area,” he said.

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Mic tests were centre stage throughout the day, while carts full of drums and guitars were wheeled in, hours before the show.

“It’s a large area but when you pack five or six bands of equipment… This is one band’s set, this is Blake Shelton’s, next one is Old Dominion [and] they’ll have another 12 feet of gear,” Cresswell said, pointing to a crowded stage hours before the performances.
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“We always make it work because we play Tetris and know how to pack it well,” he said.

Cresswell said at any given time, there can be up to 15 trucks of equipment.

During performances, he said the goal is to have the set turned around within 30 minutes.

“The viewer expects everything on time. If that band is going on at 9:30, they want them to go on at 9:30. My job is to make sure everything is on time and everything is safe,” the 25-year-veteran said.

After performances are done, Cresswell said they reset and repeat the next day.

“We reset, every night. The stage becomes a big blank. We’re the first ones here and the last ones out. That’s our job,” he said.

Headliners for Friday night include Old Dominion and Blake Shelton. The four day festival wraps Sunday.