|You Got a WHAT?
When I retired nearly six years ago, or was it seven, I never expected I would want a job again. But when my neighbor told me that someone would be in BV interviewing locals to work at the upcoming Seven Peaks Festival over Labor Day weekend, I thought that sounded like fun. So sweaty and messy after pickleball, I showed up at the Surf Hotel to meet the recruiter from Live Nation, the big company that runs concerts and shows all over the country. Sonja and I had a great talk and she told me to email her the days and hours I could work. She said I would be working for the security detail. I thought that hiring decision was based on my large size and tough demeanor, but it turned out all the temporary workers were being hired to assist the main security dudes from Denver. She already had an idea where she wanted would put me, which was in Dierks Bentley's “private area”. That sounded very interesting but if I was going to be checking his “credentials”, I thought it would be a good idea to find out what he looked like. At home I Googled and YouTubed him and quickly realized that private credential checking would not be a problem, at least not for me.
In a frenzy of excitement and optimism, I emailed Sonja saying I could work 10-hour days (they preferred 12) beginning six days before the festival started and ending on Labor Day, the day after the festival ended. I included two days off, one mid-week for a rest and the Saturday of the festival for personal commitments. Sonja scheduled me for every hour I said I was available.
The festival takes place on a parcel of land close to Buena Vista but I had no idea how beautiful or large it was just looking at it from the main road. On my first day it took me awhile to figure out where employees were supposed to go, but eventually I drove up to a small group of tent campers. As I walked up to a tent a young man greeted me warmly, “Are you Carol?” It was Peter from Live Nation in Denver and apparently my reputation had proceeded me. Peter showed me the ropes, took me on a tour of the grounds via golf cart and told me that I could bring my van and camp with them, which I did the next day.
Over the next four days I met several other Live Nation employees and fellow temporary employees. I got moved around to various entrances and watched the empty land turn into a mini-city. Workers built the huge main stage plus a smaller stage uphill from that, put up furnished tents for workers (free) and festival-goers (which rented for over $1,500 for three nights). Trucks brought in generators, portable showers, large mobile offices, T-shirts and other merchandise, and more porta-potties than you could count. Men were “slinging” WiFi and putting up stations for the sheriff and EMS. The catering tent served three meals a day, and the food was excellent and free for workers. Dierks and entourage arrived on Monday along with Hot Country Knights. Their gazillion dollar buses were camped along Cottonwood Creek behind the big stage, so now we had another spot to guard. One day I was in charge of greeting the lunch crowd and counting plates served, so I know I told Dierks to enjoy his lunch, but so many guys had beards and baseball caps it was hard to tell who was who.
On Thursday the vendors started arriving and the landscape had changed dramatically. On Friday morning we got our “Crew” T-shirts and wristbands. It was show time! Campers and festival goers started arriving in droves at 8:00 am. It took my neighbor Bill over three hours to drive the eight miles from Chateau to the festival for his first day of work. I was so glad I was already camped there.
Friday and Sunday I was stationed most of the time at the special Artist Check-in entrance which was a pretty sweet gig. They put me there because I was not a “star struck” type of person. In fact I was clueless about who most of these people were. But I did get to meet some artists I knew, including Nitty Gritty Dirty Band (they all shook my hand and were so friendly) and one of my favorite performers, Rita Wilson. Her hubby Tom Hanks was not with her as everyone had hoped. It's a good thing because as it was I forgot the friendly-but-unimpressed welcome speech I had been practicing all day. In a squeaky voice I blurted out how really, really, happy I am to meet you Ms. Wilson........Really! I was a total dork but she smiled sweetly and said something I can't even remember. I was able to schedule my 30-minute dinner break during her show and she is a really good performer. I love her songs “Throw Me a Party” and “Rule Breaker”.
Another sweet gig was being located at “stage left” guarding the backstage area. I got to listen to many of Friday's 90's Night bands from there and watch the crowd have a great time. On Sunday night I was inside the venue so I got to see Jon Pardi and then Dierks' big finale while steering drunks towards the exit. Oh, and those 10-hour days? They usually turned into 12, and on Sunday I worked 16 hours because the adrenaline started rushing and I didn't want to miss anything.
The whole thing was a blast! I met so many interesting people, got a nice T-shirt and a fat paycheck thanks to all that overtime. Did I mention it took me three days to recover? I don't want another job ever again......until next year.