Grab those old blue jeans you no longer want and head over to the Roots and Blues office on Fifth Avenue.
Production manager David Gonella is planning to use them to add shade ambiance to the Blues Stage at the south end of the site.
“I want make sure we give patrons a better experience, that’s why I am doing it,” says Gonella, noting the jeans will be hung on lines much like laundry, from about five feet from the stage to about 40 feet back.
They will be in rows of staggered heights and will break up the sun on one of the hottest areas of the field. Shade Sails Canada in Revelstoke is helping out by providing high tension shades made to withstand high winds.
“We always have to plan for the worst case scenario and I think they’ll be fun to look at,” says Gonella, noting that after a two-year hiatus from the Roots and Blues Festival, he feels like he’s come home.
Changes are also in the works for the children’s area. There will be a smaller area directly next to the festival office with bouncy houses, a crafts tent and a display by Vernon’s Okanagan Science Centre. Children and their accompanying adults will able to play in shaded sandpits at the shade stage, blues stage and main stage.
“Audiences will be able to look right over and see their children from their seats,” Gonella says, pointing out adults won’t have to miss performances in order to let their charges play.
In terms of manpower, festival organizers have created efficiencies that will allow them to reduce the number of volunteers required for the three-day musical extravaganza. But volunteer co-ordinator Jeff Topham says he needs about 218 more pairs of helping hands.
“We need raffle volunteers, performer transport and people to cover parking and camping,” Topham says. Volunteers are required to work a total of 16 hours, which is broken up into three four-hour shifts during the festival and another four-hour shift for setup the week prior to the festival or tear-down on the Monday after.
Volunteers receive a free weekend pass, food vouchers and a popular volunteer party Sunday night, which is attended by some of the performers. Those who would like to volunteer may call 250-833-4096, drop into the office on Fifth Avenue SW or fill out a form online at www.rootsandblues.ca.