Oddly enough, I have two wonderful and amazing men in my life whose careers involve sound engineering: Rick and Marty. And while Rick is now confining his tech savvy to the events at the Venetian Theatre in Hillsboro, Marty is still actively “taking it on the road” with live events scattered throughout the greater Oregon area.

Several weeks ago, Marty invited me to come listen to the acts appearing on the Main Stage during the all-day Hawthorne Street Fair. Now, I just happen to love street fairs, and live music is always fun and entertaining, so of course I decided to attend.

I arrived hours early, so I could get a good parking spot. “Good” in this case means “within two city blocks” instead of a half a day’s walk away.

Being early to these kinds of events give you a least two strong options. One, you can make yourself scarce and go have coffee while the stage is being physically assembled and the massive amount of bulky equipment is loaded in. Or two, you can ask what you can do to help.

And by nature, I’m a helper.

So I set up rows of chairs, being careful to set them staggered, so no one would have to stare at the back of the head directly in front of them. I helped lift speakers to the stage, then stood in front of them as they were tested to make sure they were working properly, strung numerous extension cords under the stage, plugged them into the control box, and tried to keep all the wires pushed back out of the way of the soon-to-be-arriving audience.

The Main Stage hosted groups from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. without a break, so I also was the one to run for soft drinks and sandwiches. I’m not about to add “roadie” to my resumé, but now I have a little more “backstage insight,” in case I need that type of information while writing a mystery novel.

One just never knows…