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No major, no problem: a look at The Masquerade’s internship program

Picture of the exterior of the Masquerade. More particularly the “Hell” section of the venue. Photo by Mayowa Amosu | The Signal

The music industry can be incredibly confusing for creatives and businesspeople alike. With the fall semester in full swing, more and more students are thinking about their futures.

Many students attend Georgia State’s School of Music, while others might seek alternative degrees. Everyone is welcomed at The Masquerade, however, as the venue seeks applicants for their internship program.

“The Masquerade is the best venue in the Southeast,” Joe Warren said. Warren is an ex-intern and Georgia State graduate who now works as a talent buyer for the long-running establishment.

The popular venue, now located in the heart of Underground Atlanta, has taken many forms since its opening in 1989. It has also hosted some of the biggest alternative acts around, from Nirvana and Soundgarden to Future and Taking Back Sunday.

As talent buyer, it is Warren’s job to keep up with bands across several genres and reach out to acts that he feels would do well at The Masquerade. These days, Warren can be seen scurrying around Kenny’s Alley; often running entire shows. 

“I was basically the kid who loved going to shows, and wanted to be a part of it,” Warren said when asked how he snagged his internship at The Masquerade. “I literally had no formal background experience in the music industry. The only thing I really had was going to, like, Warped Tour and that kind of related sort of shows.”

Warren’s passion and dedication to learning new things shone through, however. His initial responsibilities for the internship would run along the lines of social media and event promotion. Eventually, this progressed to “postering,” printing show flyers and covering all three stages with show bills for three months straight.

“Basically, I was thrown to the wolves,” he said. “Obviously, if you have some questions [people will] answer your questions. A lot of it was figuring it out for myself. But they were receptive to ambition and determination and stuff like that.”

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Of course, degrees in-field are also always welcomed. Last year, Blake Objartel graduated from Georgia State with a degree in music management and an internship at The Masquerade under his belt.

To Objartel, the primary obstacle wasn’t lack of relevant education, but rather balancing his passions.

“I think the hardest realization for me about trying to succeed in the music industry is you’re either strictly on the business side of the equation or you’re on the side of just being an artist and musician,” he said. “So, my advice is just be ready to work extremely hard anyways, but even more so if you’re trying to focus on helping yourself succeed as a musician [in addition to] helping others succeed as a business person.”

Objartel now works part-time with Live Nation, though he still picks up the odd job at The Masquerade.

Regardless of schooling, The Masquerade’s internship program strives to provide experience for those who need it. Prospective applicants can expect news for the fall semester to be posted on social media. Those eager to get their resumes in can contact the venue personally to apply or even ask for an employee face-to-face during a show.

So, what might life after The Masquerade look like? At Live Nation, the tasks that Objartel performs fall in line with standard customer service – from ushering people to their seats, to checking people into the venue’s private lounge. However, he hopes differently for the future.

“The first [ideal scenario] would be to make a living as a traveling musician,” he said. “Then, once I’m a little older and tired of being on the road, either work for, or start, my own publishing company. The second scenario would have the same ending, but just be a tour manager instead.”

The Masquerade will be posting further news regarding internships to their social media soon.