Winnipeg 2004 – Showtime

The countdown is over. It’s Thursday. I’ve read my manuals and practiced radio speak and I’m ready to face life as blue vest volunteer at 8:00 PM.
The campground opened yesterday, the main gate opens today and the opening night mainstage concert starts at 6:00 PM with the Perpetrators followed by Spirt of the West, Tegan and Sara and Taj Mahal. The idea seems to be to give each performer a generous opportunity. Taj Mahal is scheduled for around 10:30. I should be able to see almost everything, as my floating security crew is assigned to support the mainstage tonight from 8:00 to midnight.

I have been instructed that we are to be firm with people with booze and anything in glass and get them to take it offsite or to give it up. I got the impression from the orientation briefing that while smoking in the audience area is against the rules, we should ignore it unless we get a direct complaint or see that the neighbours are uncomfortable. Darn. I was ready to take out the pepper spray.
Part of our mission is to watch for any audio and video recording including digital cameras being used in video mode. My technologically savvy friends have asked if I am supposed to seize Palms and other devices. I think the festival has to go through the motions of protecting the IP rights of the performers and the recording companies and SOCAN against bootleg recordings but it’s really an impossible mission.
The general weather forecast for the Festival is still good – sunny with daytime temperatures in the high 20’s, nights in the mid teens. The mosquito counts appear to be picking up again. Yesterday evening I was out with friends for a long bike ride, with stops at various points on our trip. I noticed that the bugs were out again, but nothing like the past few weeks.
One new development – rain in the forecast again for today. In fact it’s cloudy as I speak and the forecast is 60% chance of thundershowers. A thundershower would cause site deterioration, and possibly affect the evening concert. I think this is Taj Mahal’s only appearance at the Festival, but missing the full concert of any of the performers would be a disappointment.
The campground security detail and the park police may have a new headache. There is a mound just to the west of the festival campsite, on the edge of a large grassy field. It was constructed to hold the Pope and a host of RC dignitaries for an open air Mass when the Pope visited Canada in 1983.
In past festivals, Pope’s Hill became a special party site for some of the Festival campers. I don’t know what went on, although I think some aspiring musicians beat drums through the night. This year, the Park took the Hill out of the Festival’s lease and the Hill is off limits to campers. We’ll see how that works.


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