The story appears on

Page B2

September 23, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Our man goes behind the scenes at Black Rabbit

NINETEEN balloon throwers will not do for 30 Seconds to Mars. The popular American rock band played for thousands at the Black Rabbit music festival in Shanghai but they were not the only ones working to ensure the crowd was entertained.

Someone had to load the equipment on the stage, someone, work security, and be person No. 20 of the crew throwing balloons at a dramatic point while 30 Seconds to Mars made the crowd swoon last Sunday.

That someone would not be this writer.

In the tradition of journalists going undercover to get the inside story, I joined with volunteer organization BEAN Shanghai to help out, along with about 100 others in bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with a hare. If pioneer American journalist Nellie Bly could have herself committed to a mental hospital for a scoop, I could cart myself to the Shanghai Rugby Club in Pudong for a 9:30am arrival.

A for-profit concert is somewhat unusual in BEAN's charity work - visiting orphans and kids in hospitals - but BEAN director Sheila Seiler points out that Black Rabbit benefits "social community-building" and "bettering the Shanghai music scene." Besides, volunteers got extended breaks, free meals and free entry to a festival where tickets cost up to 350 yuan (US$54.80).

And so by 10:30am Seiler handed out assignments in a field that would be filled with thousands of fans. Mission: help out at each of four stages, at concessions and elsewhere.

I was declared leader of Stage Left, and I feigned knowing what I was getting into as I led four young women over there.

I wasn't the only one a bit lost. At 11:30am, only one hour before Shanghai's Rainbow Danger Club was to take the stage, no one could find a missing tom-tom for the stage's drum-kit. Stage manager Adam Gaensler paced around, talking to the band, the sound staff, and listening intently to his radio. Rainbow Danger Club eventually went on a bit late, to an enthusiastic crowd.

Volunteers mostly did the extra-hand stuff, things that could not be anticipated: guarding Yellowcard's guitars, directing people to different venues, and taping up various signs. A personal highlight was being greeted by a chorus of boos while announcing a schedule change from the stage.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. There was some buzzing about "rock star" behavior, but nothing too flashy. Except for a minor panic around the 30 Seconds to Mars balloons. I was hurriedly recruited to help, but after realizing the task, I put myself to better use making sure things went smoothly at Stage Left. By smooth, I'm referring to my dance moves while Norwegian "space rock" band 120 Days played their club-friendly music.

Hey, it's rock 'n' roll.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend