Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Raising the Roof

RICHMOND, Va. (Tuesday, October 9) –- The weather has been kind to the National Folk Festival so far this year, and as a result staff and volunteers are comfortably on schedule as they work to prepare Richmond’s riverfront for the festival’s third and final year here.

Ukrop's/First Market Stage areaSome of the setup work is relatively straightforward –- involving the setting up of small tents, distributing tables and chairs, etc. Setting up larger venues, such as the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage, the setup is more complicated.

The Ukrop’s/First Market Stage and the Dominion Stage consist essentially of two components –- the stage structure itself, and a roof that can be raised and lowered.

So what is erected first?

Frank CaulderAccording to Frank Caulder, the master rigger, the roof. Part of Caulder’s job is to put it together.

For example, the roof for the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage is a standard concert roof attached to four posts (towers) that allow the roof to be raised and lowered when needed.

The roof is a square, 40 feet on a side, made of 57 pieces –- trusses, motors, etc. Every junction between trusses is held together by pins: four drift pins and four cotter pins.

Corner of the Ukrop's/First Market StageThe first step is to assemble the outside box –- the frame that holds everything else together. Roller blocks, through which chains are run for the raising and lowering of the roof, are then put in place on the frame. All of this is aligned and leveled, then the lift towers are installed and anchored to the outside box. The motors are installed next, followed by the roof’s skin itself.

Lowered roofOnce the roof is raised, Caulder’s assembly job there is over. Others come in to assemble the stage -– made of Bil-Jax scaffolding.

In the mornings, Caulder will raise the roof and perform a safety check. At night, he lowers and secures the roof. He repeats his ritual on a daily basis until the festival ends, then he takes the roof apart and prepares it for transport elsewhere -– maybe to a festival near you...

Ukrop's/First Market Stage


pagalina said...

I can't wait for the music to start!

October 10, 2007 10:49 AM  
Dave Lawrence said...

Neither can I!

October 10, 2007 2:30 PM  

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