Are you having fits & starts over the schedule for Roots & Blues? Do you know the phrase fits & starts? In the case of deciding who to see, where and when during Lancaster Roots and Blues festival, the phrase could describe how you are wrestling with choices. You decide who to see, you discover an option, you feel conflict and you flip. It’s a good problem to have. Don’t give yourself conniptions as my mother’s people would say.
I have to try and be everywhere at once. It’s my job as Director of Operations. Of course that’s impossible and I’ve learned to let it be. I can’t introduce every band or even see every band. I can’t stop what I’m doing and have a beer with every friend I run into. So I build a framework for each night: start, middle and finish. I try to mix business and pleasure into the decisions. Then I let the chips fall. All I have to worry about is getting everyone checked in, sound-checked, parked, fed, paid and pampered.
Friday 2/26. By the time the VIP Reception opens at Lancaster Visitors Center at 5pm, I will have been on the job ten hours already. So I’ll have a cup of Gerhart Coffee and a glass of Barossa Valley shiraz. I’ll munch some delicacies by Chef Tim Carr. I’ll hug and introduce my pal Kaleigh Baker before she performs solo acoustic. Then I will dash to Convention Center to introduce Sweet Leda as they open the Main Stage at Freedom Hall B at 6pm. I’ll get to boogie a few minutes there before I start the laps of this phase of operations: opening.
By 7:30pm most venues will have opened and the VIP event will be ended. I’ll secure the Visitors Center and check in on the Food Truck Court on Market Street. If I start a counter-clockwise lap from there, I’ll catch a bit of Sam Baker at Ware, Left Lane Cruiser at Tellus 360, The Ogham Stones at Elks Lodge, Banditos at Chameleon and Ten String Symphony at Trust PAC before introducing Kapali Long to open Dispensing Company’s stage. Dude is coming from Hawaii to play our festival. That’s my plan 7:30-9:30.
That gives me 30 minutes to try and catch a few minutes of Marah at Tellus 360 and solve any festival problems before Maceo Parker hits the Main Stage at convention center at 10pm. What could go wrong? Of course I want to be there to see a legend and his 12-piece band show us what it’s all about. That just doesn’t happen every day in Lancaster. I hope to see 15-20 minutes before I begin the next phase of laps: finales.
Chameleon and Ware Center will be wrapping up between 11-11:30pm. I hope to fit introducing Gabe Stillman and The Billtown Giants at Federal Taphouse into those laps. They go on at 11pm and are some serious blues-rock pals who call Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport their home. I know you never heard of them. You heard it here first; be there!
As I hit my 17th hour on the job Friday, I want nothing more than to introduce Frog Holler at Elks Lodge Ballroom and have my first beer of the night. They will celebrate 20 years together in 2016 and for my money, they embody everything a roots and blues festival should be. Last pause of the night will be at Federal Taphouse for Toronzo Cannon. It will feel like being in Chicago and my feet will likely feel like I walked there! Then it’s back to headquarters to review and prep for Saturday!