Who’ll Stop the Rain?

My apologies to my readers, my days since my last entry have been rather full with the preparation and execution of the festival. On Thursday at about 4pm, the forecast for Saturday changed from sunny to rain. To avoid the problems of past years, the executive director cancelled the craft portion of the festival and had the craft fair coordinator call all the vendors to tell them not to come. This decision was not popular with many people, including some board members. The real strange thing was, despite the change in the forecast, there was actually a surge in ticket orders on Friday.

The festival coordinator wisely moved some of the tasks to be completed on Friday to Thursday and we spent most of Friday moving sheets of aspenite to staging areas to be used if the grounds got too muddy on Saturday. The executive director also had crushed concrete laid down the length of one of our parking fields. We had done this a couple years ago in another field, but there has been a desire to preserve the green space of that particular field for a few years now. Given that the executive director helped tow 150 cars out last year, I believe he decided the paved lane across the meadow was the lesser evil.

In the end, it did rain, but the mantra of the day was “This isn’t as bad as last year.” It was rather muddy, but because of the preparations and lower volume of rain, only three cars actually had to be towed out. (Other cars got stuck, but they extracted themselves before the tow vehicle could arrive.)

The fact we had less rain didn’t keep the lighting and sound trucks from becoming embedded in the ground. Last year nearly everyone was freed by 10:30 pm, but mysteriously this time I was up until 1:30 am getting the two equipment trucks pulled out. (My contribution actually consisted of shivering in the drizzle while the tow truck crew winched trucks forward, pulled ahead, winched them along a bit more, pulled ahead, etc. However, there had to be a representative of the organization on hand until the grounds were vacated.)

Sunday morning I had to run to Philadelphia to pick up performers at their hotel and transport them to the train station. This probably wouldn’t have been necessary in most cases except they were hauling equipment and instruments which a taxi wouldn’t have been able to accomodate. Then it was back to the festival grounds to start the clean up. As usual, few of the volunteers who signed up to help clean up showed up. We seldom give festival admission to people who only sign up for the day after so we weren’t cheated out of tickets.

The day was long and hard, but fortunately this year I am not a full time employee so I got to go home at the end of the day when my contract was up. The full time coordinator and her assistant will be tackling the remaining portion of the clean up over the course of the week. Most of the heavy work was completed yesterday so they will be faced with tedious chores like putting signs and tables back to where they are usually stored.

I, on the other hand, am returning to my job search and will go back to writing more from a research point of view. As I suspected, if any arts organization tries to have a person blog about their experiences during the process of creating a work, the product might be intermittantly produced due to the demands of the job exhausting the writer.

All in all of course, an enjoyable experience.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Leave a Comment