What do rock climbing and sound production have in common?
Maybe not much on the surface, but we talked to Nick Sico, production manager of the Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion, and learned about the similarities. We thought bringing top-notch entertainment to the stage might be a pretty cool downtown job, and he gave us some scoop.
How did you get into sound production?
I started working in production professionally after college. I was a history major and a recreational rock climber. As it turned out, history didn’t help me, but my climbing skills were valuable towards event rigging. I had some background in theater from high school and college, and I soon found that I could work regularly as a rigger supporting sound, lighting, and video for major events in Columbus and surrounding cities. I learn something new each time I go to work, and every event is different.
Why do you like it?
I enjoy the variety of people and places I have experienced through event production. “Gigs” have taken me from Alaska to Finland. I have crossed the ocean on a boat, worked in art museums, and done concerts in German velodromes. You get a chance to work hard all day with passionate people who care about the arts, and then be part of an event where a celebrity may strike up a conversation with a group of workers backstage. It is a nice juxtaposition of “construction worker” with VIP access.
What would people be most surprised to find out?
I don’t go to concerts for fun. I prefer camping, canoeing, and fishing with my wife. I can’t go to a concert without focusing too much on the technical details; it takes away from the music.
What’s the most fun thing you get to do?
There isn’t any “most fun” part, except for perhaps when I get to climb around a little. That is rare now that I am in a management position. I find the process overall to be very rewarding; you really see the outcome of a small team of people working hard on a focused project each time a successful concert happens in your venue. It is nice to watch others dance and enjoy themselves and know you and your colleagues worked hard to make that possible.
What would you like people to know?
Don’t forget; when you leave a good concert, there is still a crew of guys working late in to the night.