It is early June and the dew is heavy on the tall grass of the festival grounds as 40 volunteers gather for their weekend assignments. The cars roll in, parking along the road between the path to the Global Village and the Pink Floyd Garden Stage and Beer Garden, where fences provided by Black Dog Salvage used to contain the drinking crowd.
Today the fences are stacked behind a new administration building that is almost complete. Volunteer workers gather, drinking tall cups of coffee on the newly constructed porches and patios to discuss the plans for the day ahead.
This is the final large work weekend scheduled before Floydfest X begins on July 28th, and there is more to be done than most festival goers know. Most of the crew for this weekend will work two ten hour days in the hot sun. But they can look forward to a four day pass to the festival as their reward. Many will camp on site in a large grassy field to the south, nestled in the woods between pine and hardwood trees, or pitch their tent behind the “Children’s Universe” in a quiet, family-oriented camping zone.
Artists, engineers, therapists, professors, students, retirees, parents and kids work together at a pace that is comfortable in the hot sun, sharing sun block and water as they tell stories about festivals attended in the past and the excitement of the upcoming celebration. Each volunteer has a story and favorite band.
The excitement builds as volunteers share pizza provided by a local merchant, Mickey G’s Bistro and Italian Restaurant in Floyd, chatting as they exchange phone numbers and plans to meet again on these grounds at the end of July.
An adult crew takes on an overgrown flower bed, digging and moving stones, removing overcrowded plants or putting them in bags to be moved to other locations. Gallons of water are hand carried from the spigot on the top of the hill. It is easily 90 degrees with harsh afternoon sunshine and a soft mountain breeze that ruffles the hair and eases the heat.
Another group that consists mostly of youth and young adults cleans the Noah’s Arch structure in the Children’s Universe. The large, wooden boat is filled with musical instruments that test the imagination: giant PVC pipes that sound like a huge xylophone if popped with a mallet, drums made of barrels and chimes fashioned out of recycled steel.
The sound of hammers, laughter, weed whackers, mulch trucks and the occasional rumble of thunder are all that can be heard on the festival grounds.
Two weekends are dedicated to this pre-festival rite, one in May and another in June. Any task that cannot be completed will be left to the landscaping and grounds supervisors to take care of before thousands of cars, vans, motor homes and tents arrive between Wednesday, July 27th at noon and Sunday evening. Over 13,000 people attended last year’s festival and more are expected this year. The staff and volunteers want each one of them to see something beautiful in every direction they face once they hit that gate.
It’s not too late to get tickets for Floydfest X. Log onto http://www.floydfest.com to order and pay for your one day, two-day or four day pass. You might want to hurry, though. There aren’t many spots left. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to miss the beauty of the Rocky Knob area, the music of over 100 bands, and a family friendly festival that will create good memories for years to come.