The Things I’ve Learned: Marney Smith

Marney Smith: Venue Director, Les Schwab Amphitheater

Casa Bay Photography

Marney Smith is a Bend native and a graduate of Gonzaga University. She has been the Venue Manager for the Les Schwab Amphitheater since 2004 and can be thanked for the many great shows and the continued success of the venue. In addition to her numerous accomplishments in the entertainment field, she is married with an 11-year-old son, 7-year-old twins, three dogs and a cat.

What is the single best thing you have learned from your children?

Determining what’s worth fighting for. Coercing your child to change clothes after they come down
the hallway wearing swim goggles and a bikini over leggings, ear muffs, a too-small sweater and Hawaiian hula dress to the grocery store– not worth a fight. A picture maybe…

What did you learn from your parents about parenting?

I’m still learning from my parents about parenting. There are a few lessons that have always stood out to me:
1. Work hard. Be grateful. If you find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work an actual day in your life. 2.

2. Feed your curiosity. Findt he passion in the kid and then fuel it with books and knowledge.

3. Be there. No matter what was happening in my world, if I needed advice, a ride, a shoulder to cry on, my parents were there.

What Superhero power do you wish you had as a parent?

I do rock a minivan, which is a superhero power unto itself, but getting three kids to three different places after school, with snacks and equipment, school projects and grocery store stops…imagine if you could just wiggle your nose and be there? I’d like my superhero power to be traveling at the speed of light with all my people in tow.

How are kids today different than when you were a kid?

Kids have more information but less freedom than I did when I grew up in Bend. My friend, Gretchen, and I would run down the street, meet in the middle, catch lizards for a couple hours and run back home. Along the way we would knock on the “latch key house” doors (they had signs in their windows to indicate they were a safe place for kids to go after school), and use their bathroom and maybe their phone if we thought we were running late. Wen can now triangulate our children at any given time, find the work/criminal/financial history of their playdate’s parents, and calculate exactly how long it should take them to get from one point to another. There’s a sense of responsibility and freedom that went along with the childhood I had that now we have to replace somehow with our kids. I would die a thousand deaths thinking about any of my babies walking into a stranger’s house to use their bathroom these days. There are pros and cons to the adjustment and likely graceful ways to adjust.

How is running an amphitheater like being a parent?

Running an amphitheater and parenting are so similar and summed up by the fact that nobody does anything you want them to do when you want them to do it. But when you’ve put the babies to bed/finish the concert, had a moment to breathe and reflect on the day… all the trials were worth it and I can hardly wait for the next show.

What do you think the next generation has in store for us?

I think the next generation is going to be very empathetic. They are privy to massive amounts of information at their fingertips at all times. I hope the upside to seeing kids walking with their noses in cell phones and texting during dinner with grandpa is that eventually the technology will be recognized for the resource it is.

Grandson Harry can Google the “Tet Offensive” and ask grandpa questions based on fact about how the events shaped him, the family and those around them. It’s difficult to be bigoted and ignorant with a world of information at your fingertips.

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