Friday, August 13, 2010

Decatur Celebration

Okay, this post is a few days late. Decatur Celebration was LAST weekend, but I have been "recovering" from it these past few days, and also work has been nothing short of chaotic.

I know - - enough with the here is information on how this year's Celebration went down.....

This was the 25th Anniversary of the Celebration. It also marked the 24th year Dear Mr. Dizzy and I have worked the festival. So it was a happy time for all!

We work the Show Stage, which is the largest stage at the festival, and it usually gets the biggest "headliners" for the year. This year we had four acts to work with - - Ryan Cabrera Friday night, The Lou Gramm Band (he's the former lead singer of Foreigner) Saturday night, The Georgia Satellites Sunday afternoon, and Charlie Daniels Sunday night.

Quite a line-up, eh?

Friday evening Mr. Dizzy and I got downtown around 4:30. When we got to the stage, we were a bit concerned....not band set up; nothing at all onstage! We found the stage manager and asked about it, and he just laughed and said, "All we need is a mic and a pedal for acoustic guitar." Apparently Ryan Cabrera didn't have anyone backing him - - it was just him on stage with his guitar, singing soft pop songs.

I had no idea who he was, but apparently every prepubescent girl in the tri-county area did, because the average age of the audience was about 15. And the screaming? High-pitched and LOUD. Kinda cute, actually - - but I seriously doubt that I was ever THAT young!

Ryan and his manager were nice people, and it was a pretty calm crowd. Also, the weather was pretty mild that evening, so all in all it was a pretty easy (read: BORING) start to the festival for me. Sorry, but - - I like a little action on the stage, and a crowd that is just a touch more mature. Maybe I'm showing my age.....

Saturday the temps started out pretty mild, and the humidity was down a bit, so it was not an uncomfortable day. We had Lou Gramm's Band that day, and when they all arrived for setup and sound check, we were very happy with the way they were - - friendly, nice, easy to work with. And the show that night? Nothing short of AMAZING!!

And it seems that his performing is nothing short of a miracle....a few years ago, Lou was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he found a doctor who was using a new laser surgical technique. He agreed to the surgery, but was given a LESS THAN 50% chance of survival.

Well, he survived - - and started performing and touring again, and sounds better than ever. He put on an amazing show! After the performance, the band was backstage with all of the workers, and they were as nice and down-to-earth as you could hope to find. A very nice second night of the festival!

Sunday, the heat and humidity returned. WITH A VENGEANCE. It started out early morning hot, and as the day progressed, it just got worse. And of course, it was to be our busiest day....we had TWO BANDS and THREE SHOWS to work with.

The work day started at 9:00 AM, with load-in for Charlie Daniels' band. Also, the souvenirs needed set up, because they wanted them on sale ALL DAY, not just during the performance. Then, the Georgia Satellites showed up with their equipment. And THEIR souvenirs. Keeping the sales straight for two different groups was going to present a definite challenge....

Charlie Daniels' band did a two-hour soundcheck, and once that was done, it was time to set up Georgia Satellite's equipment in front of the other band's stuff. They were playing two shows, and Charlie Daniels was playing one show later in the evening.

All this time the heat and humidity are rising, the sun is beating down, and it's HOT under the awning were souvenir sales were going on. Which is where I was trapped.

Georgia Satellites put on a great pair of shows! And, they were very nice, funny, down-to-earth guys, and we had a ton of fun with them. I never have cared for their music, and still don't (sorry guys), but they were good people.

About 6:45, I headed into the Civic Center to help with the Charlie Daniels Meet & Greet. Again, I have never been a country music fan (and still am not), but was looking forward to meeting a man who was such a music legend. And, I had heard that he was a very nice person.

Well, Charlie did not disappoint. When he walked in the room, and heard everybody cheering, he ducked his head and actually look embarrassed! But, pleased at the same time.

I assisted keeping the Meet & Greet people in line and signaling them when to come up, and it was a fun time. Near the end, one of Charlie's people walked up, handed me a picture, and asked me if I would like to meet Charlie also. Well, HELL YEAH! So when everyone in the line was through, I came up and got to talk to him. He chatted with me for a bit, and I said I was one of his stage workers; he actually thanked me for helping with his show that night! He then not only signed the picture, but my Volunteer Work Shirt as well.

Charlie Daniels treated everyone he talked to the same, whether it was the Producer of the festival, the Media people, the Mayor of our City, or a stage worker like myself.

And you better believe the show he put on that night? Nothing.Short.Of.FABULOUS.

Before, during, and after the snow, his band and road crew were just as nice and friendly as the Big Man himself. So even though the weather was miserable, it was a great ending to a great year.

I have pictures, but will post them tomorrow. Hope you enjoy them!

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