BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival Staff Highlight: Brendon Boyd
Name: Brendon Boyd
Position: Production Manager
First Summer at the Bandshell: 2000
This is your 17th summer with the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. How did you first get involved?
In the summer of 2000, I had graduated undergrad already, with my bachelor’s in arts with a theater minor, and moved down to the city, so this was my summer gig. I was a lighting apprentice, running follow spot, hanging lights, swinging a wrench, doing electrician stuff. After the summer, I went up to UConn for grad school, and I continued to work at every summer down at the Park. I slowly moved up the ranks, running the lighting department for 5 summers. As the lighting director, I picked up some assistant production manager responsibilities, so when my predecessor left, it was easy for me to take over the production manager job.
How would you describe your day-to-day job?
A lot of my job is front-end heavy, with a lot of my work happening before the Festival even starts. There’s planning, hiring, budgeting, and scheduling—overall there’s a lot of the pre-planning that happens in order to make the Festival happen.
Then, three weeks prior to the opening night on June 8, we hit the ground running! During those three weeks, I’m managing the crews, making sure all the equipment is set up, and just building the festival from the ground up. I’m also working with vendors and securing the best deals and nurturing relationships of long lure, to make sure they continue to make BCB the best it can be!
What do you do when you’re not at the Bandshell for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival?
I own my own company, a lighting design and production management design company called Boyd Design Inc. I employ 4 people and we do lighting design and production management for live shows all year round.
Where do you live?
Technically, my house is in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But over the summer, I cannot live at home, because we put in too many hours out at the park. Every summer, I sublet a place close to the Bandshell. For about eight years, I was on State Street and this year, I’m subletting a place in Bushwick.
What are your favorite parts of working on BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival? And what are your not so favorite parts?
My favorite parts are the shows. I come from a theater background, specifically lighting design. I try to run the shows if I can, but I do that less and less. I like getting behind the console, and hitting that bump button and see 6,000 people go “yeah!” and scream. It’s very rewarding from that standpoint.
The shows are getting bigger and better. The vibe is great. Brooklyn is growing. Everything’s growing. To have a 6,000 show when I first got there was a rarity. We’d have maybe once a weekend or three a month. The big ones were the reggae show and the Latin show; those were the big ones. Now we consistently pack in 5,000 to 6,000 every show. It’s actually a rarity to not have that many people.
The downside is that…everything is growing, growing, growing. We have nowhere else to grow. Physically, with our venue, we have nowhere to grow. Our incremental growth is contained and layered and that’s very hard. It’s very difficult.
What have been some of your favorite shows?
The first one I can think of is David Byrne (Opening Night, 2009), because I’ve worked with him since then, and that started my work with him. We had a huge opening night show; it was one of the biggest ever.
Manu Chao is also at the top of my list (Benefit Show, 2007). We did two nights and both shows were fun and exciting. One of them rained, just poured on people, but it was a great vibe. Everything looked great, sounded great, the audience was great.
We do so many shows now, but for the good shows, it’s not just about if the artist is on fire, there is a bigger package for me. It has to be: the crowd was good; there was no drama; the artist was happy; the tech team was happy; concessions didn’t catch on fire. Everything has to happen well for a really good show to ring in my head. Those were good ones.
Which performances are you looking forward to this summer?
Femi Kuti is coming back! I’m excited for Femi Kuti. The reggae shows are always fun. There will be a big crowd, everyone’s relaxed, and chilled. Reggae is generally a smooth-sailing show.
What is it like to work so closely with all of these top performers?
We meet so many people and there are so many great talents. We’re about supporting the artists; that’s what we do there. All of these amazing artists like Herbie Hancock, Manu Chao, David Byrne, or Angelique Kidjo can go into the back of a bar and pack that thing full of people, playing on an acoustic guitar, something very simple, and it will be a great show. But when they come out on the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival stage and we add the production value—it makes them better and bigger and more awesome. We’re the support structure. The unsung heroes, behind-the-scenes, first-to-arrive-last-to-leave crew.
I’m just happy to be part of the BCB team. It’s great for the community and I know people come to expect great shows from us, and we’ll continue providing them.