Friday, July 21, 2017

Behind the Scenes at a Festival: Wednesday’s at the Square

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Posted by teibs On May - 1 - 2009

wednesdays@ZackTeibloom I’m a pretty seasoned veteran of going to festivals,* but I don’t have any experience running them. Until now. My wonderful host, @SamiFest got me a gig helping to set-up the weekly day festival Wednesday’s at the Square. We got to an empty park at 9:30 a.m. and by 5 p.m. transformed it into a tent-filled barracaded festival zone I’ve come to know and love.

Compared to the festivals I’m used to, this was tiny. Compared to anything, it was tiny. You can see the whole park at all times. Still, it was a ton of work. Helping roadies stack speakers, getting the alcohol from the trucks to the booths, setting up tents and tables and the barracades.

Steel barricades are now my official nemesis. I always hated them because their job is to prevent Festival Crashing, but after lugging more than 50 of them around the park for hours, I couldn’t hate them more. I got blisters on my fingers!** By the end of the night, I needed a friend to help me carry one.

The thing that blew my mind was this festival was literally 1/1,000th the size of an overnight festival. And even with two dozen workers,*** it took all day to set it up. To put together a town like Bonnaroo or Rothbury is something I couldn’t imagine. Especially that Sherwood Forrest. Part of me wants to be part of making it a reality, part of me wants to only see it in its magical finished state.

As exhausted and disgustingly dirty as I felt afterwards,**** it was fun to be a part of a festival. To see it come together. I could see myself getting into that kind of work. I wouldn’t even have to crash anymore.

*I’ve been to 4 Lollapaloozas, 3 Bonnaroos, ACL, SXSW, Langerado, 10KLF, Rothbury, New Orleans JazzFest, Pitchfork, Chicago Reggae Fest, Chicago Blues Fest, Chicago Jazzfest, Austin Reggae Fest, Crawfish Festival, Jamboree 97, Twisted 8 and Ozzfest.

**Did you know it was Ringo that says this at the end of “Helter Skelter?” I always thought it was John.

***If you share your Smart Water with a Mexican who doesn’t speak English, the odds are high that he’ll think you’re giving it to him for good.

**** I didn’t have a tan line, I had a dirt line at the sock level. Not a good look.

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