Thursday, October 11, 2007

Finishing touches

RICHMOND, Va. (Thursday, October 11) – The 69th National Folk Festival is less than 24 hours away.

All through the day and into the evening, staff, volunteers, and vendors have been getting ready for Friday’s 5 p.m. start.

Frank Caulder works on raising a banner at the 2nd Street entrance.During the day, much of the activity was on the Richmond riverfront area were crew were installing and testing lights, and sound equipment on the performance stages; setting up chairs and tables; setting out signs and banners; and doing final carpentry and painting work. Vendors, such as the Espresso-A-Go-Go near the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage, were setting up their tents and arranging their merchandise.

Much more work was being done behind the scenes at the host hotel as festival staff and volunteers prepare for the surge of personnel that began arriving tonight.

While some staff helping to set up the riverfront site have been here off and on since the weekend of September 28, many of those involved in managing performance areas, operating lighting and sound boards, or working as stagehands are coming today and tomorrow. Most performers will likewise arrive tomorrow.

Espresso-A-Go-Go employees evaluate their progress.Danna Boshak of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) serves as logistics manager for the National Folk Festival. She says more than 300 performers and staff are being brought here for the festival. In all about 225 rooms at two hotels – the DoubleTree and the Quality Inn – will be rented.

About 10,000 meal tickets will be distributed to performers, staff, and some volunteers so they can get food on site.

Since nights are expected to be somewhat chilly this weekend, NCTA’s Mike Petillo, production coordinator for the festival, is taking steps to help the performers stay warm. Petillo said that at least 30 pairs of gloves, 100 hand warmers, and 30 sweatshirts will be available for the performers.

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Andy McCarty (left) and Bobby Lacey hook up sound equipment at the Ukrop's/First Market Stage.
Andy McCarty and Bobby Lacey of Onyx Engineering were setting up the sound equipment at the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage Thursday afternoon. The setup features a 64-channel house sound board, a 64-channel monitor board, 10 monitors for the performers to hear their own sound, from four to six sub-woofers (they had not yet decided yet how many would be needed), and two strips of main speakers suspended from the corners of the stage’s canopy.

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Stephen Bristow checks the lighting equipment at the Ukrop's/First Market State
While McCarty and Lacey were working on the sound, Stephen Bristow was part of a crew from On Stage Gear installing lights on the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage. They had installed 24 Opti-Par stage lights that illuminate the performance area of the stage in a variety of colors. Among the Opti-Par lights were six Source 4 Leko lights that illuminate the stage with a clearer, more powerful beam. They also had eight stage colors mounted in back of the stage.

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