Bon Jovi’s School Keeps Rocking

Learning about the concert business requires more than a classroom. For some lucky students, an internship component on Bon Jovi’s outings provides a hands-on experience in event management.

The program, which kicked off in 2010, started as an opportunity for students to shadow crewmembers for a day. But for the North American leg of Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can” tour this year, the team wanted to switch things up.

“We had this internship program and we had to come up with a fresh twist on it,” Michael Savas, Bon Jovi’s management coordinator told Pollstar, adding an idea arose to identify students who embodied the “Because We Can” spirit and offer them a roadie-for-a-day experience.

“The goal was to find students in every market that we’re going to who are giving back and are a positive impetus for change in their communities,” he said. “And as a prize, let them come behind the scenes, show them what it takes to put on a big rock show and let them become part of our family for the day.”

Although getting put to work may not sound like a prize, the students have embraced the chance to get their hands dirty and work backstage.

“It’s been nothing but the utmost gratitude,” Savas said. “When they arrive, they don’t know what to expect. They’re from all different majors … but I’m not lying when I say 95 percent of them leave wanting to get into event management.”

And it’s not just the students that have walked away inspired. Savas noted he’s had several lifelong roadies approach him and give thanks for an opportunity to give back and recognize that what they do every day is valuable.

The program has also helped some venues identify potential hires in their communities.

“I’ve had one or two universities that were so impressed with the program that they’ve implemented a full-time internship program for all the tours and events coming through,” Savas said.

Bon Jovi just wrapped up the North American leg of this trek, but the internship will continue when the band heads to Europe and back to the U.S. this summer.

“Our goal is to do it everywhere we go,” Savas said.