Part 2 Summer Camp Music Festival 2017

The last post I wrote about all the preparation that we seen when we arrived on Monday.  Our first day for work was Wed.  The gates didn’t open till Thur. for the Pre party, so Wed. was still preparation for opening.  The Security Office was about 50 ft. from us, so it was nice and close.  I walked over for my morning shift of 7 am – 7 pm.  I was assigned VIP area.  After I signed in with Tina and got a Security vest, one of the guys gave me a ride in a golf cart.  We were told to bring a chair if we wanted or anything to make our 12 hours bearable.  I took Richs stool from Adventureland.  It was also chilly in the morning, around high 50s to start.  So I wore my brightly colored tie dyed sweatshirt…..When we were here 6 years ago, Rich’s brother, John had let us ride around in the park once, and I pretty much new the layout.

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VIP was down at the bottom closer to the parking lots and Rt. 29.  It hugged the tree line of the forest.  At the end of the road before it went back up the hill, was a huge tent.  It was the VIP tent.  As you turned the corner to go up the hill, their was a parking area.  I was left off their and he said just sit their, watch and make sure their was no trouble.  Now that’s easy enough……It was really muddy….As I looked in the grassy area, their was a golf cart.  On the front it said ARTIST RELATIONS.  Nobody was around, so I just climbed on the back and made myself comfortable.  Their was another Security Guard at the gate going up the hill, Colten.  He had a scanner and had to scan everyone who was going through the gate.  This was the entrance to the back of the Moonshine Stage.  Right by me was parking for the Moonshine Stage.  I learned that each stage has its own production team as well as runners.  It is their job to run for anything needed, whether it was in the park or shopping at a store.  They had parking passes called Runners.  So that day, I just sat all day on the back of the unclaimed cart.  It sprinkled, I moved inside.  I watched at supplies came into the VIP tent.  Beer trailers, tables, picnic tables, some furniture, and many items.  All I knew was that was the tent that would have special perks for the VIP ticket holders…..”And I found out later”…..I sat their and watched Porta Pottys come in.

20170524_075800Shower trailers and Generators and a full size semi full of Ice for the VIP area.  Vendors started coming in and setting up their food areas.  The funniest thing I seen all day was a semi who was bringing in a shower trailer.  They told him to turn up the slight hill in the grassy area and drive up by the tree line……Well, he didn’t get far, he was stuck.  It took the next hour or 2 to figure out how to get him out.  Quite Entertaining.  Finally after 12 hours, I was relieved got a ride back up to the Security area.  Rich was at work by this time, as he was working nites.  He was at the Front gate.  For me it was a long day, but really not bad as I sat all day doing nothing.  Next morning, I checked in and that’s when things started happening.  I was in the Security office, and a call came in that someone found a person in their vehicle in line turning blue.  Turns out he had a Heroin Overdose.  He was hauled into Peoria, but didn’t hear anymore, but i’m sure he made it.  My assignment on Thur was Artists Check-in.  I was dropped off and worked with the nite guy for awhile before he left.  All the employees, Artists, Medical team, law enforcement came through this gate.  I had a hand scanner and scanned all persons entering unless Law officers or Medical.  Their was many law depts. present.  Local Chillicothe, Peoria County, State Police, Drug Enforcement, and plain clothes officers.  They all flashed their badge.  Everyone on a golf cart, mule or side by side had to be scanned.  On the front of each golf cart was a Summer Camp decal with a scanable device behind it.  All carts had to be scanned.  HR was also located on this road, so their was lots of traffic.  That was where I learned more about the many parking passes.  Each vehicle had to have certain passes to enter.  All the Artists stopped at the trailer in front of us and checked in for all their wristbands and laminates.  In front of the trailer was 3 or 4 carts called Escorts who then took the Artists to the right stage.  Late morning the gates opened up for the Pre Party ticket holders for Thur. Nite.

20170526_231858  They all had parked their cars and loaded up all their stuff on wagons, carts, or anything with wheels.  They lined the fence waiting for the gates to open.  Finally the gates opened and the lined moved fairly fast, but it was so funny to watch.  The stuff they brought was unreal.  Tents, coolers, chairs, Hoola Hoops, Poles with signs on top.  What they couldn’t bring in was drugs, alcohol and weapons.  My partner had a radio for a while and then left, but the action had started to pick up.  Calling for Security, and parking all the Rvs, and Rvs with electric.   Later that day, they dropped off a Volunteer.  She was an older woman from Maryland.  She had driven straight through with her 19 year old daughter.  When you sign up for the Volunteer program, you put down a deposit on your ticket.  You give 15 hours and have your card signed off and your money is returned.  You do 5 hours a day at a gate or working for the Green Team in Recycling.  They were camping in a tent in the forest.  She was rather interesting to talk to.  She was a black woman and her and her husband live in a big Victorian Home in Maryland.  Finally, time to go home.  I had sun burned my nose and my lips, which would haunt me into the following week.  That nite Rich was at Front gate again.  He had to make sure they went through proper gates.  He was next to the search areas.  They all were searching for contraband.   They found lots of drugs, and alcohol and weapons.  It was all taken away.  But lots of it got through too.  The next nites Rich heard many calls for Law enforcement, Security and Medical.  Lots of people who would hallucinate,   get in fights and were out of control.  Lots of stuff happened in the forest.  He heard one call where their was a 300 lb. man causing problems.  It took many men to tackle him and bring him down.  He was then hauled away.  lol   Lots of that went on at all hours.  Friday, I was to go in at 11 am, but all the shifts were filled, so I didn’t have to work.  So this was my chance to explore.  Rain was predicted so off I went.  20170526_122304

This is the Security Compound.  We are parked on the left side, back by the garage.  The dark brown trailer in the back is the Security Trailer.

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This is the view from our Compound to the Red Barn after all the campers were their.

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Looking into the forest area, theirs wall to wall tents, you can’t hardly walk in between.

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But they put them up to make walk ways and different little communities.  I took the main road back to the Sunshine area which was already muddy.

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I found all the stages and checked out all the vendors.  I found some really unique areas.

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Did you want a Hammock?….Well here you go….The Community Hammock area….Their were all full of course….Notice the Ferris Wheel in the back ground……Really….Kids partying, on drugs, or alcohol??…..sounds dangerous to me….

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Do you feel like swinging???  or how about the trapeze bar….Here ya go…

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The strangest of all is this one.   I couldn’t see what was happening so I walked closer….The kids were all sitting back to back in a circle in the center.  2 kids on the outside were ringing the gongs….20170526_231143

Over and over and over…..It kept going gonnnnnnnng, gonnnnnnnng gonnnnnnng…….in different keys of course…..Just look at their faces……They are ZONED OUT….

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Now look closely at the girls….lol….no tops…..They were coming out of the forest with their group leader…lol…wearing only glitter and jewels on their boobs…..Lovely….Now the bands played all day long on different stages, so you heard music constantly.  Kids walking everywhere.  One of the guys who gave me rides said….”Just remember, Each one of these kids has a mother who loves them and is proud”.…..lol

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Here is the Watering Trough…..They were not only filling water jugs, they were also taking small baths and washing their hair and faces….This area became so muddy by the end with standing water.  But look, so far they all have shoes on….lol….It was still early in the festival….

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This was another area of venders and this was before it rained…Can you imagine after it rained?  I didn’t go back their again.

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This girl was up by Moonshine and was such a Flower Child…..Finally I went back home as it was getting dark.  It started pouring and the electric went off at 2 pm.  Ours didn’t come back on till 10 pm as we were the last on the list.  Of course we had our generator.  Luxurys of an RV.  It turned out, on the evening news, 2 people were hit by lighting near one of the stages and taken in to the hospital.  They were ok.  All the electric was shut down I heard.  Of course all the stages were first to restart.  It dumped lots of water.  Later I took another walk around 10:15…..I wanted to go into the forest.  I remember how cool it was to see all the different camp areas, the use of colors, beautiful tapestry’s and of course their appearance.  So I took a walk. I went to one of the openings in the forest.  On the map you can see the main trails that criss cross through the forest.

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I waited to enter to avoid a mud pit.  I kept walking and took a turn up the hill.  This is what I found.

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A place that had vendors and a small band playing.   I looked over to the left and I seen a trail up the small hill.  Of course I walked that way….

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It was really cool, lined with their colorful tapestry’s hung in the tree forming a path. So much color and beautiful lighting.  It gave off a feeling of PEACE…..On each side was tents so close you couldn’t walk between them.  I kept going…  Breathe….lol…

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It started to narrow.  You could see people on each side in the distance.  I was thinking it was a back way to Camping Stage…..It came to an end and another smaller path started…..lined with glow sticks in the ground.  The aromas of incense and “other things”…..lol…were strong.

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All of a sudden I had an out of body experience…..lol….I seen myself…..”An old lady with white hair and a Security Staff T Shirt”.   I decided time to turn around and leave.  I nervously took this picture and turned around and left….lol….I was Soooooo out of place….Then I went back up the road, checked out some of the stages.  The Vibe Stage was going full blast but it was nothing but mud and standing water, so I didn’t get close….The kids didn’t mind…..It was more Techo music.  I could see lots of dancing and hula hoops and just a lot of kids free dancing at a distance.  I wanted to go to Sunshine stage, as it was going full blast, but it was a real mud pit walk area, so I turned back.  On the way back, I seen this interesting person with an umbrella.

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It must be homemade.  I believe it was a girl.  It is rather hard to see but she had it pulled over her head and their was some kind of light inside.  Strange.  After I took this picture, I looked inside better and she was holding the handle with one hand and in the other was a sticker that she was placing on the other side of the umbrella right in front of her……??????  lol….Tripping????   No Words for that one, just interesting. 

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As I walked back I was passed by many Festi Cabs.  These were 3 seater golf carts that were brought in by another company.  They were of course for hire.   Their were many of them running a regular route, with regular pickup areas set up.  Finally back home and bedtime.  By now the music was so loud that the windows in the Motorhome would shake with all the base.  The Camping Stage was across the road, and the Vibe Tent was not far also.  So every nite it would shake and rattle till 4 am.  I did grow accustom to it.  Kitty threw up the first day on the dash, but after that he was fine also.  Next morning I was assigned to VIP area again.  So down we went, to the VIP area.  The golf cart almost got stuck in the mud.  This time I was left off at the Moonshine Stage Back Entrance.  It was a direct route between VIP and Moonshine. 

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It now had a drive in gate and also a walk in gate with 2 pedestal scanners.  The scanners were now my area.  Their is my Tie dyed Sweatshirt on my stool.  Everyone going up to Moonshine had to scan.  Now I seen many kids coming down from the camping areas in the forest looking for the showers and pottys.  They were beginning to look rough.  Many were now barefoot.

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Soon the Moonshine stage started up and the music began.  This is from my gate looking up towards the arena area of Moonshine.  On top of the hill is the venders.  A perfect nature amphitheater in the grass.  The parking area in this area for the artists as they came was pretty tight.  But those professional drivers always made it work.

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This is one of the Bands buss’s as it was making the turn to enter Moonshine Stage.  I took this picture from my gate.  They all had to walk through this awful mud….Yuck….Did they care?    NO !!!   Some had shoes….Some now had none.…All day long this was my job making sure everyone scanned green at the gate and had the proper wristband to enter.  Most everyone was very nice even very friendly and happy, but you also had a few A Holes.   They would try to sneak through many ways.  I would have to call them and make them come back.  Some were ignorant and belligerent.  It seemed most if them had VIP and Artist placards.  They seemed to believe they were above the rules.  I did find out later that VIP ticket holders did NOT have to go through the search area.  So if they had contraband, It came in….AGAIN REALLY???….So money does talk…..By 8 pm nobody had come so finally I called Security and was finally relieved.  I did 13+ hours that day.  But we were fed good….lol…So as I go home every nite, Rich is already gone….I look at his tickets….HE”S WORKING 18 HOUR SHIFTS…..wow, I can’t do that….He asked to stay at the Main Gate and that’s where he stayed.  He liked it their.  They needed a …STRONG PERSONALITY….lol…their….(nice way to put it) .  It seems many of these kids would walk back to their cars and get their drugs and try to walk in his gate.  He had to stop them and make them go through search.  His gate was only for people leaving.   You wouldn’t believe some of the excuses they would make up….YES HE WAS GOOD AT HIS JOB….This is now Saturday nite.   2 more days to go…..too much for this blog…..so

Stay tuned for Part 3…..My 2 Days in VIP TENT……

 

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This cool looking Mushroom was carved and painted.  It was inside the fence by the scanning pedestal’s.  It was actually in the camping area….

 

 

 

Summer Camp Music Festival 2017 – Part 1

This year we brought up our traditional Pinata from Progresso Mexico.  Last year we bought Mexican candy too, but not this year.  Some of it was pretty bad.  I just filled it from the General Dollar Store.  We brought home a cute blue fish this time.  We wanted to do the Pinata before we went to Summer Camp, but the weather wasn’t the best.  It was chilly and damp.  So we met at Granville Park in the shelter.  Only Tina and Tammy and the kids came,  but they enjoyed it.

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Cassidy 13, Carly 5, Dexter 2, Miley 8, and Austin 6……Cameron 18, was the rope puller…

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They all had a turn hitting the piñata with a steel base ball bat.   That fish was made so well.  They hit and hit it many times before it finally opened and the candy fell out.  They had a good time and filled their bags with all the candy.  So another Pinata to the trash….lol…inner-picture

On Monday, we drove down to Chillicothe, which is only about 40 minutes away.  The Summer Camp Music Festival is located in Three Sisters Park, south of town on Rt. 29, across from the Illinois River.   Three Sisters Park is 400 acres of farmland and forest areas.  It was donated by 3 sisters.  The master plan envisioned the creation of a living history farm, a central activity building, large festival areas, a welcome center, restaurant, agricultural equipment museum activity area, and outdoor natural amphitheater. The open fields and forested areas offer unique space for special events, concerts and festivals.

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Summer Camp from Air….Copyright, Jason Kaczorowski Photography 2011

Summer Camp Music Festival has been held here for 17 years.  It is a perfect area to put on this festival.  This year they were expecting 25,000 people attending to enjoy over 100 bands on 9 stages.  It is always on Memorial Day weekend.  It is a 3 day event, but if you came for the pre party event, it was 4 days of party, music, drinking, and all the fun you can imagine.   This is an event that was created and put on by Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, and is said to be one of the top 40 music events by Rolling Stone.  I compare it to Woodstock of many years ago.

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We had attended “Scamp” as they also call it, about 6 years ago.  We are people watchers.  It was such a fun,” ENLIGHTENING” weekend.  The people we seen, their dress, or lack of…lol…their free spirits, and the music that seemed to touch their soul to the core.  We always wanted to go back.  Richs brother John, is head of RV Parking.  Their is a lot of planning into making this festival work.  Each manager has his area that he has to plan down to detail.  Now John with RV Parking, has to plan his area into camping slots.  He marks out the field and know just how many campers he can get in.  He begins almost a week ahead to prepare his area.  When the gates are open.  Him and his crew lead each camper to their spot.  Each one has to have their camper scanned in to show available tickets at the box office.  It is a lot of intensive work, as on the first day 2/3s of the people are in line waiting to come in.  Now that is only 1 area.  You have Electric Rv Camping, Camping areas, Security, Vending, Artists, Vips.  Then you have all the Emergency Equipment.  OSF Hospital from Peoria operates a regular staffed clinic for any emergency and transport if needed, also all the police departments on regular patrol.

They rent the park for 2 months, May-June.  Their is so much preparation.  Electric has to be run for all the areas.  Even for Electric RV sites, Vending sites and then the stages.

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Their is 1 permanent stage…….Moonshine…..It is a wooden built stage that is positioned to make it a perfect amphitheater.  The whole hillside slopes gentle down to the stage making it a perfect seating area for concerts.  This stage was the venue for the biggest headliners.

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This is the  entrance to Moonshine area and all the Vendors.

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Another area and Stage is Sunshine Stage.  It is also full of Vendors and some carnival rides.  The Sunshine Stage is a huge stage that is brought in by semi and set up.

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It is probably the 2nd largest stage.  It is also where some of the main headliners performed.

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The next stage is called Starshine Stage.  It is also a stage brought in by semi.  In this picture, they were setting up and testing lights about 10:30 one night.  That was about the latest I could stay up…..lol…

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Now next is Vibe Tent.   It is a large long tent with a stage inside.  It was the home of the Electronic Dance music.  Now this tent wasn’t to far from us.  It played every nite till 4 am.  The windows in the motorhome shook with every base beat.  Their is also 2 smaller stages, Camping Stage, which is near the forest and also Campfire Stage, which is near the campfire.  They also played all night long.  Then we have the Soulshine Tent.  They also had performances as well as many other things.  Vendors, Lost and Found and some other projects.  Down in the VIP area, their was also the VIP tent.  The had 1 hour concerts all day long.  Many of the bands were also playing up on the big stages.  Last, we have the RED BARN.  It is the permanent building in the middle of the park.  Every nite they would hold a concert that was an extra charge.  Now can you imagine the electrical nightmare.   They bring in many huge generators and position them through out the park.  All electric is feed off of them.  20170523_084316

Then can you imagine planning for 25,000 people for bathroom and shower facilities.  This picture is of just a few of the portable potty’s and showers.  They tried to position them for the convenience of everyone in all areas.  They also needed electric to work.  They also brought in many regular porta potty’s.

They also have to bring in and install fencing.  Obviously the parking area has to be fenced off to guide them to the right gates.  Then many areas with in the park need to be fenced to guide the crowd to the right events.  All the perimeter areas of the park need fence in good repair.  Those areas are also patrolled constantly to keep kids from sneaking in.20170604_091546

When they sell tickets, you receive wristbands and you can upgrade with laminates.  Each wristband is scanned into the system.  The categories are Volunteer, General Admission, Staff, Guest, Vendor, Artist, and VIP.  The laminates are used for clearance into certain areas as backstage and also your level of ticket, such as Production mangers or even the top management team.  They are also used for the ones who are escorts.  The Vendors, Artists, and Rvs all have Escorts to take them to their locations.  Many areas you had to scan your wristband to allow you in to that area.  Several areas had electronic pedestal scanners installed in the ground.  Other areas we were supplied with hand held scanners.  Each area was programed in the scanner to accept only the proper wristband.  When you buy your ticket you buy a base 3 day tent camping pass.  That is over $200.  An Rv is more and of course Electric with RV is also an upgrade.  Now you can also buy upgrades for your different access areas, VIP Camping, VIP RV, and VIP Rockstar.  The next thing to try to understand is parking passes.  Each car has to be checked on entering for their pass.  Those categories are General, Employee, Runner, Artist, Vendor, VIP, Vip Deluxe, VIP Super Deluxe, VIP Rockstar, VIP Non Electric,  South Lot, and then 1 day passes.  As Security, we had to check the windows for parking passes at the entrance gates, and also according to our job assignment area, we had to make sure they were parked in the right areas.  After purchasing all their tickets that they wanted, many of these people had spent close to $1,000 just to enter.  Upon checking online before the gates opened many of the VIP upgrades were sold out.  So lots of money was brought in by the festival.  But also look at all the expense in planning.

All the different departments also had hand held radios for communication.  These were all rentals also.  They were handed out as needed, usually trying to have at least one in each area and the managers and important people obviously had them all the time.

Transportation was another issue within the park.  No one was allowed to bring in their vehicle, 4 wheeler, or golf cart.  A select few did bring in theirs, but they were upper management.  Golf carts, side by sides, mules, all equipment of that type were rented and supplied to each department as needed.  Their were many.  Of course the Emergency Team had their share that would accommodate a stretcher, the police enforcers had theirs, and of course in Security we had ours.  When we checked in for our shift, we usually were given  a ride to our location.  I always got a ride back, but Rich had to walk back sometimes.  Many of our Security people were on duty patrolling at all times.  Partly watching over everyone and also checking in on us and taking care of our needs.

I almost forgot about food.  There was a food tent set up for workers on duty.  We were fed free, only if you worked days.  The managers were given tickets to hand out to their workers, but we as security couldn’t leave our post.  Lunch and Dinner were delivered to us every day.  We were given 2 sandwiches many times, fries, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or PowerAde.  My last meal was a huge container of Spaghetti, salad and Garlic Bread with soda.  We were constantly given water.  It was all free to us.

So their is so much planning that goes into this festival.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things, and many other things we don’t even know about.  It was amazing to watch it come together and work.  People come from all over the USA.  You’ll find license plates from many different states in the parking lots.  They even ran a shuttle bus from Chicago to the Festival this year.  Fly into Chicago and take the shuttle for $51 each way.  You hope and pray they all come have a wonderful fun filled weekend and go home SAFE and HEALTHY.

We arrived on Monday and checked into HR.  We were met my Tina, head of Hart Vitale Security.  I had emailed her that we would be coming with a 38″ ft MH.  She took us up to the Security Compound.  Rich had to make it into the narrow fence opening, but he made it.  All Security was to camp their.  The Security office was also their for our check in and retrieving our assignments.  The had us back in front of a garage building.  Next to us was a bunk house that had 5 different doors.  2 were bunk rooms of 6 each, the others were showers and toilets.  We relaxed the rest of the day.

 

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Our view of the Red Barn before all the Electric RV section filled in….

 

We had to attend 1 meeting and we had a choice of 4.  Tue. morning we walked over to the church for our meeting.  It was a general meeting of dos and expectations and information.   Way way to much to absorb without working it first.  We then stopped by the Security trailer and got our schedules for the rest of the weekend.  I was to start Thur morning at 7 am at VIP area.  Rich was to work Main Gate.  So we finished Wed. off with going into Kroger’s and stocking up and then parking the pickup in Employee parking.  We couldn’t have ours in the park either.  So Hope I haven’t bored you with all these facts and everything, but I think its important to realize what is all put into putting on a Festival like this.  These were just a few observations that I made.

Next,…..THE FESTIVAL ITSELF……What did we see……What did we do……

……….What an Experience……..

 

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