Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Day of the Festival

Welcome back for another blog entry in the RTE23 multiverse.  Last month Chris Mullins, an avid fan of what we do, contributed some great words to our blog.  This month you get the perspective of Daniel Dotten, one of the RTE23 Music Festival committeemen.  I've been right there with Daniel for the last three (almost four) years and he certainly puts to paper what the day of the festival is like for us.  Daniel,  Take it away...

RTE 23

Get out to the field around 9:30 and it’s just an open field of grass. Soon enough the stage crew drives
up. There is a quick discussion about the location and they start to unload. Scaffolding, cables, decking, stairs, speakers, lights, structure, zip-ties (you have no idea the number of zip-ties) all start pouring forth. Frenzied activity.

Now that the stage has been located the beer garden must be constructed. Stanchions are put out at
regular intervals and linked together with plastic chains. They are then moved a couple of dozen times as the beer garden is formed and then re-formed to ensure the occupants (and those outside) have the optimum audio and visual experience. Tables and chairs are set out. The canopy for the ID check station is put up. Done. We look over at the stage and they already have the floor together.

Attention turns to the food vendors. “Okay, so we’ll put Foodie Fiction over here. Where are we
putting the crepe vendor? Which vendors need power?” A general idea of who goes where emerges.
Soon enough the vendors start to arrive…and park in the wrong spot. “Oh well, we’ll just move the BBQ guys over here and that will fix it.” Over at the stage they are beginning to crank the roof up.

Little issues start popping up; “Where is the ABC license?” For this and so many issues we are eternally thankful for the help given to us by UVA Wise. Angels named Hector and Michael swoop in to solve issues large and small. “We can’t get into the press box for the hospitality room.” “The key to the hospitality room broke off in the lock.” These and so many problems get swept away by them. The RTE23 banners are now on full display as the stage is fully constructed.

Hop into the golf cart and drive to the road to place the signs pointing everyone to the festival. Take the go carts down to the Pryor Center to get ice. Drive up to the hospitality room and find out they need ice. Go get more ice. The brewery pulls in and begins to set up. Go get TONS of ice. The stage is up and ready to go!

Here come the bands. Unload and take the instruments to the stage. They set up and do a sound check. Sounds great! “Oh this is going to be good!” No time to sit, head off and take care of a million little details.

Finally, we sit down for a few minutes. Exhausted. So much effort put forth. Not only today but months of planning, band selection, seeking sponsors (Thank you, Sponsors!) have gone into getting this ready. People start to filter in. Camp chairs and blankets appear on the once empty field of grass. And then the first band takes the stage. Totally worth it!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rte 23 - Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Welcome to the RTE23 Music Festival blog, a new feature we've added to the site this year.  A huge thanks to Chris Mullins, a big supporter and fan of everything that RTE23 puts together, for writing our first blog.  Take it away Chris!

Rte 23 - Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d have access to a legit music festival within walking distance of my home in Wise I’d told you how crazy you are and laughed you right on down the street. Fast forward to 2017 and I sit here looking forward to attending the RTE23 festival for the fourth time. Amazing!

It’s really cool to see what can be put together by just a few people with a real passion for
something. This festival may be the best example of that I’ve ever seen in this area. One of the
best parts about it though is you don’t even have to share the same passion for music in order
to have a good time. There are lots of folks that come out just to socialize and catch up with
friends outside of work. What community can’t use more of that?

Personally, I love digging into the music and getting close to the stage for some bands. I often
catch myself mesmerized trying to follow what chords the guitarists are playing or wondering if I
can repeat the rhythm when I get home with my guitar. It's harder to get that close at larger
festivals and concerts. While I’m doing that there are others 200 feet away with hula-hoops or
yard games. Everybody experiences live music a bit differently. The first year we attended was highlighted by David Mayfield and by the end of the night he and his were in the grass with about 50 of us that were still there. He was jammin’ on his knees, on his back, and breaking guitar strings. The next year The London Souls brought a blues-rock vibe that was the most memorable for me. Last year one of our favorites was Elliott Root. My daughter fell head-over- heels in love with them and we've now seen them two more times since.

I've discovered a lot of new music that is now frequent listening for me. If our community embraces a festival like this one and helps it to grow then over time it could draw larger crowds and more well known bands. In turn more vendors for food and merchandise may join in. Sponsorship can grow and local businesses would gain more exposure. All good things. The guys and gals on the RTE23 committee have always done an amazing job of bringing in a mix of bands that can appeal to about any taste; I expect more of the same this year. Come on out and we'll see! In the meantime head over to the RTE23 Facebook page to see this year's lineup.

Oh wait, one more thing…this festival is FREE!!!

- Chris Mullins, Wise VA
Supporter and attendee of RTE23