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Stage Manager HowTo

Last revised 3/5/22

Please arrive, ready-to-go, for your Stage Manager duties not later than 45 minutes before the evening concert starts. This year, 2022, that means not later 5:45pm on Mon, Tue, Wed or by 6:15 PM for Thu thru Sun evening concerts. The first act is usually already there looking for you by half past! (For afternoon concerts, arriving by 11:30 AM is probably OK, just no later.)


Introduce yourself to the Membership Table folks the first and second half of the concert so they can tell the performers who inquire there just who it is they are looking for. Tell the Membership Table folks to direct performers to the warm-up rooms; that’s an easy place for you to find them. You might also have the Emcee introduce you from the stage. Try to keep AT LEAST two acts ahead (not counting the one on stage).

Performers frequently show up at the Stage Crew area, where someone will hand them a Stage Diagram Form (see below). So, look for performers, there, too.

On a weekend afternoon, finding performers is a bit easier in that there is only one warm-up room to search (the Miller Room), plus the back stage area. Performers usually find the Stage Crew area. On the other hand, sometimes people are hard to find because they are in a workshop, jamming outside; occasionally, they don’t ever show up (a big “no-no,” but it happens).

“No Shows” can cause real problems because the next acts might not be ready to perform 15 minutes early. This is why it’s good to be at least two acts ahead and preferably more; it gives you and the Emcee time to work out what to do about a No Show.

Sometimes, someone shows up without a performing spot. With lots of hope in their hearts, they’ll let you know that they are available to fill-in if there is a “No Show.” If you need them to fill an awkward hole in the schedule (you don’t HAVE to use them), talk it over with the Emcee. You and the Emcee are in charge.


This tells the Stage Crew and Sound Crew what the performers need. Have the act fill out a Stage Diagram with a ball point pen (supplied with the Stage Manager clipboard). Ask them to be as precise as possible in their needs (mics, chairs, props, tables, piano, etc.). If they are first time Alaska Folk Festival performers, they may need some help with filling out the form. Frequently, groups don’t think about their stage set-up until you hand them the Stage Diagram Form. If they have stage set up questions you cannot answer (i.e.: do we have a four-band harmonic overdrive subsonic carrier), get them in touch with the stage crew leader. It will help reduce set-up time, which is included in their 15 minutes.

Ask them to write down any instructions they want to give the SOUND CREW about how to mix their set.

Give the completed Stage Diagram forms to the Stage Crew LEADER. The Stage Crew will add their own notes to the forms. Then, the Stage Crew will separate the three-part forms and distribute copies to the two sound boards.


Get EYE CONTACT with the group leader and gently REMIND them sets are 15 minutes, COUNTING SET-UP, so they need to ready to move to the back stage area when you say so, to avoid going overtime. There is a Red Light at the front of the stage that will come on when they have less than two minutes left. They need to be prepared to finish up.

Stage Crew:

Work closely with the Stage Crew (introduce yourself to the crew leader), and keep them informed of performers' needs so that each act's set-up can be as smooth as possible!


Inform the Emcee of any problems in advance (substitution of performers, no-shows, etc.) Remember, the emcee is "Captain" and you are the "First Mate!" Work together. No Shows, in particular, can cause problems. If you can’t find an act, have the Emcee announce that you are looking for them. Work with the Emcee to get through schedule problems: No-Shows, Late-Shows.


Not more than five minutes into the act on stage, herd the next act down the hall to the back stage area. It will take them a while to grab their stuff and get there. Since the act on stage MAY run short (perform less that 15 minutes), you want the next act back stage in plenty of time.

Frequently, performers are nervous. You’ll have more contact with each act than anyone else. You can help by being reassuring. Let them know how things work.

Then, you’ll make another trip looking for acts, getting stage layout forms filled out. Return to the back stage shortly before the act that you left there is due to go on. When the applause has died for the previous act, direct this next act on stage via the BACK stairs. The act on stage should be coming down the stairs at the SIDE of the stage. If it works right, there’ll be no traffic jams.

Now, you can start the search and herding cycle again.

Some people who can answer your questions:

Sound questions? Ask Lucy Peckham, Rick Miller or Mike Sakarias.

Stage questions? Ask the Stage Crew Leader or Mike Sakarias

Dance Venue questions? Ask Sergei Morosan

Organizational questions: Ask Greg McLaughlin or Lise Paradis

KTOO or taping questions? Ask Jeff Brown

Workshops: Ask Pat Henry

Volunteer/Folk Festival Memorabilia? AFF board member

Children's Activities: The Adults in the Child Care Room

Keep calm, have a good time, and don't sweat the small stuff.