Northern Spark 2019 – Festival Production Apprentice

Sarah Peters

Northern Spark 2019 – Festival Production Apprentice

Northern Lights supports artists in the creation and presentation of art in the public sphere, focusing on innovative uses of technology to imagine new interactions between audience, artwork, and place and explore expanded possibilities for civic engagement.

Our largest program is Northern Spark, a free, annual, late-night, multidisciplinary arts festival that takes place in June and draws tens of thousands of Minnesotans each year. In collaboration with arts organizations and community partners, we turn the city into a surprising arts experience.  For more information about Northern, visit our website:  For more information about Northern Spark, visit

In 2019 Northern Spark takes place in three neighborhoods: Downtown East (Minneapolis) in The Commons, American Indian Cultural Corridor (Minneapolis) along Franklin Ave., and Rondo (St. Paul) at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center. The apprentice positions seek applicants with strong cultural ties to the latter of these two neighborhoods.

Since 2011, Northern Spark has created a spirit of adventure and belonging, with the help of hundreds of artists and community partners. The goal of the apprentice program is to share the systems we’ve built over the years, and to foster an exchange of skills and community knowledge in the neighborhoods where the festival is taking place. Festival apprentices get an inside view at how a large public event comes to be, as part of a dynamic team that works together to produce this beloved event. 

For this year’s Apprentice Positions we are looking for candidates with cultural connections and community involvement in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul and the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Monday, February 1st, 2019.

To apply, please submit a resume and cover letter online here.
Questions? email 


Job Description: Festival Apprentice – Production

The Production Festival Apprentice works with the Producer to support the production process of Northern Spark — from the planning phase through implementation and clean-up. This includes artist, venue and vendor coordination; the planning and implementation of festival infrastructure (signage, amenities, etc); emergency planning; permitting; and zero waste efforts. This person will work closely with the Producer and interact with the rest of the production team (tech, crew, etc).

Qualified applicants should have related production experience, which may include: theatrical stage or production management, event or project management, etc. Technical experience or knowledge not required, but helpful. This is a great job for someone who has related event production experience who wants to take on more advance responsibility and/or seeks experience working within a festival context.

Advance work may include:

  • Attending all Northern Spark staff meetings and production meetings (bi-weekly)
  • Communicating with various departments in the City of Minneapolis on permits (preparing paperwork, checking on status, resolving issues, etc.)
  • Managing spreadsheets to track equipment, materials, artist information, etc.
  • Drafting schedules and coordinating with artists, venues and production team
  • Updating contact sheets
  • Sourcing/obtaining equipment and materials
  • Coordinating plans for infrastructure, amenities, zero waste, etc.
  • Management of crew members
  • Additional tasks, tbd

Tasks during the festival may include:

  • Management of equipment or festival amenities
  • Management of vendors and/or zero waste plan, including crew members
  • On-site problem-solving
  • Additional tasks, tbd

Post-Festival tasks may include:

  • Compiling information for production reports; finalizing spreadsheets
  • Taking inventory of equipment (tents, projectors, etc), with Crew
  • Managing returning of materials to vendors and/or storage facilities (i.e. walkie-talkies, signage, tents, etc.), with help from the Crew/PAs
  • Additional tasks, tbd


Stipend: $5,000

Estimated hours: approx. 10 hrs/week w/additional hours required in May and June for festival implementation

Duration: February through June 30, 2019

Reports to: Producer

Required skills:
Must be detail-oriented, organized, and able to respond quickly and problem-solve on-site. Great written and verbal communication skills, self-motivated and able to adapt to changing deadlines. Experience working with Google Docs and Spreadsheets necessary. Ability to read maps and ground plans. Ability to work with broad range of people outside the organization. Ability to work with a fast-paced schedule with overlapping project timelines. This job involves working on your feet for sustained periods of time and staying up late!

Required availability:
Weekday schedule to be determined with supervisor. Must be available Wednesdays from 12:30 – 3:30 for production and staff meetings. Some evening and weekend availability is necessary.

Artist Production Meetings (evenings): February 26; May 29
Project site visits (6 weekday evenings in March)
Project test dates (4 evenings the week of May 20)
Must be available full time for the week of the festival (June 9 – 16).

Required equipment: Own computer; internet access when not at NL office.

Must have reliable transportation for travel between sites.