Student stories

Recreation and health education co-op student rocks festival season at the Victoria Jazz Society

Simon Page

Victoria Jazz Society

Simon Page spent his summer taking in the sounds of soulful blues. The recreation and health education co-op student spent his final work term as the volunteer coordinator for the Victoria Jazz Society, a local nonprofit professional arts organization. Simon was responsible for recruiting, scheduling and managing volunteers for the society’s summer events lineup, including numerous concerts and two huge summer festivals: the TD Victoria International Jazz Fest and the Vancouver Island Blues Bash.

As part of a small nonprofit organization, Simon worked closely with a tightly knit team. Being with a smaller company allowed him to try out multiple different roles outside of the original job description. He hadn’t anticipated he’d be working on a social marketing campaign, distributing promotional materials, or driving a cargo-van full of festival supplies, but he embraced his multifaceted role with an open mind.

“It was great for my own growth to have the flexibility to experiment,” he says. “I had the opportunity to try on a lot of different hats and do some things I didn’t expect to do.” 

Simon’s job kept him busy—he was constantly juggling multiple tasks to ensure the shows ran smoothly. He managed hundreds of festival volunteers and responded to their questions and concerns as well as those of the musicians and attendees. While he worked on organizational tasks in the office by day, his evenings were often spent at the music venues handling artist hospitality and venue management.

“Everyone at the Jazz Society was heavy into ‘festival mode’ with little time to plan ahead and just trying our best to get everything we needed to get done,” says Simon. “It was definitely hectic, but also great being around incredible music and so many interesting people."

Simon relished the buzz of the festival atmosphere, enjoying the shows and meeting many of the performers. As the primary connection between the musicians and the venue managers, he had daily interactions with many of the talented artists as well as members of the community. Among these hundreds of new faces, he built valuable connections that could generate future opportunities and give him an edge as he moves ahead with his career after graduation.

“I was networking with a lot of really good people from a variety of professional backgrounds with all kinds of experience and connections,” he says, “the benefits of which time will tell!”

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