Professional Lighting & Production - Winter 2022 - Page 43

Jonathan Reid

By Manus Hopkins

Jonathan Reid focused much of his early life on sports . Growing up in Strathcona County , east of Edmonton , AB , Reid was involved in several sports and spent a lot of time playing soccer and track and field . He goes as far as to say he would have loved to be a professional athlete , at least before the opening and closing ceremonies of Olympics caught his eye , which he and his family always watched together .

“ I think it was then that I realized I had a passion for performance , whether in music , sport , or art ,” Reid remembers .“ Something about people coming together and sharing a moment is special to be a part of .”
The earliest lighting memory Reid has is from when he was in grade six when his elementary school had a teachers versus students floor hockey game .
“ The whole school would pile into the bleachers of gym and the teachers would do a mock NHL pregame with introductions and hype the crowd with a mascot and cheers ,” he says .“ When I reached grade six , a friend of mine had access to a couple of Martin scanners , a fog machine , and industrial goal beacon . I believe one of his older brothers was DJing on weekends . He had the equipment dropped off the night before and , in the morning , he showed me a few different preprogrammed effect macros .”
Reid and his friend set up the lighting and Reid brought his collection of CDs with classic sports anthems .
“ Pretty sure that was the best teachers versus students floor hockey game that the school ever saw ,” Reid says .“ Ever since then I was hooked .”
Reid ’ s more official introduction to stage lighting was through his junior high and high school drama programs . His school had a large church auditorium and there , he learned to program on an ETC Express 48 / 96 and a Zero 88 Fat Frog using Mac 300 and Mac 500s .
“ I was instantly drawn to the technology and art of lighting ,” he says .“ Throughout those years I was able to be a part of many in-house school productions and community events .” Reid ’ s high school had a production budget for some additional lighting rentals , Reid built relationships with production vendors in Edmonton . Over those years , he rented packages from Production Lighting , Axe productions , All Star Show Industries , and later from Christie Lites .
Later , Reid studied technical theatre and technical production at the University of Alberta . He also started working for a few different production companies in the summers and on weekends . He was hungry for experience and worked for nearly everyone he could . In Reid ’ s final year , he and his classmates used some grant money to spend a weekend in Las Vegas with various production teams with Cirque du Soleil .
“ It was incredible to see the scale of shows that operated every day on the Las Vegas strip ,” he says . “ I knew after that trip that I wanted to work in larger-scale events such as Cirque .”
After finishing his degree , Reid was eager to jump into the market and work full-time . His first year after graduating saw him embark on his first coast-to-coast Canadian tour , stopping at some iconic Canadian venues such as Massey Hall in Toronto and the Orpheum in Vancouver .
“ I owe a lot to a few people who took me under their wing in my early years ,” says Reid . “ Gary Meiklejohn from Christie Lites , Vince Burwash with Keylite Design , and especially Rob Sondergaard with Electric Aura , who opened the door to many national events such as the Grey Cup Halftime Shows , Canada Summer Games , Canada Winter Games , Arctic Winter Games , and a Canadian tour with David Suzuki .”
After university and some work in touring and film , Reid spent nearly a decade working for Christie Lites on projects and tours such as Chicago - The Band , Pemberton Music Festival , Paul Brandt , Red Bull Crashed Ice , Fire Aid Commonwealth Stadium , as well as LX support for various western Canadian tour runs with bands like Shinedown , Sum 41 , Papa Roach , Kayne West , Vance Joy , Carry Underwood , Nickelback , BTSM , Billy Talent , Rise Against , and also various events with the Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Elks . “ In these years I gained a large appreciation for the multifaceted-ness of the individuals who work in the live events industry ,” Reid says . “ I learned the importance of all the skills needed to start a project at the conceptual phase all the way through the final designs and execution .”
Lately , Reid has been working with two Canadian companies as a crew chief and master electrician . One is Promosa Management out of Vancouver , the company responsible for Beyond Wonderland PNW , FVDED in the Park , Merritt Music Festival , Chasing Summer , and Calgary Stampede music festival sites . The other is Toronto-based InFrame Designs , which handles the Juno Awards , CCMAs , Legacy Awards , and Canada ’ s Got Talent .
“ 2022 has been a milestone year for me but currently I am working on finishing a Canadian tour for the Arkells , season two of Canada ’ s Got Talent , and The Juno Awards , as well as several corporate and local events ,” says Reid . “ I love the speed in which we work , and the ever-evolving methods to make stage lighting better . I often have conversations with people in other industries who are amazed that we manage to find solutions to what seem impossible situations to meet a need for a show or production , on schedule and on budget . The people you meet along the way become closer than colleagues , it ’ s a special bond that we all have out on the road .”
Reid currently resides in Edmonton with his wife and their newborn son . On a day off , you can often find them at a local coffee shop or restaurant , then heading down into the river valley for a walk on a trail . They also love their local arts scene and try to support as much local work as they can .
Manus Hopkins is the Assistant Editor of Professional Lighting & Production .
Winter 2022 | 43