We headed down a day earlier to ensure we wouldn't be late due to traffic or border crossing issues or getting lost - nothing would hold us back. And, we breezed across the border without any problems, just a minor speeding ticket in Pembroke NY, and then a quick check-in to our hotels and cabins, rode some rides, met a zillion fans, and experienced a few blessings.
The one thing that impacted me was the size of the festival. Not the attendance but the structure of the operation. Having been to the festival many times, I always saw it from the fan point of view, which is still incredible. But from a band point of view, another world opens up - a world of volunteers working in many departments, and I'm sure I only saw a sliver of the organization.
For example, our credentials allowed us to eat catered meals backstage with the VIPS. There were greeters, a dozen or more servers at the buffet and a dozen chefs. Awesome food and incredibly organized.
There was a transportation department for picking up artists at the Buffalo airport and then shuttling artists, like us, on the grounds around the pedestrian traffic to wherever we needed to go - from the dinner area, to the stage - anywhere without problem.
The festival organizer is Donna Russo who has "coordinated" the show for many years but she has a team of managers, and people under each of them. I can't imagine the systems they have in place to make sure everyone is communicating and doing what they need to be doing, across the many acres of theme park and four days of scheduling. Truly unbelievable. And, she had time to hang out with us!
The biggest blessing for me and the boys came from Denny Keltzman. Denny was the festival Stage Director, hired independently for this specific event, who oversaw all the roadies, the union guys, the volunteers, the bands, the band crew - everyone. Denny has been the Road Manager for all of dc Talk's shows, and an endless list of other artists.
Through a friend with some backstage pull, I was able to get the boys backstage on the P.A.C. stage, before soundchecks for a tour of the stage set-up - with Denny. Denny spent nearly an hour with us, explaining contracts and riders, how soundchecks are handled, how cues are given to the local production guys and which bands soundcheck and which ones....don't. We saw how organized the side stage is to roll off one drum kit and roll on another - already positioned on a riser. It was an incredible hour of information from a veteran stage director, who took the time to pour into ....little old us. Unforgettable experience. For me, it was the highlight of the entire two days at KB.
We were contracted for two engagements. First, in the morning at the Amped tent, with the middle schoolers. The boys hung out, jumped around with the kids, and ended with a Q&A by the kids. Erik Arneth was the director of the Tent - a total-kid person and very charismatic!
Then, we played on the Park Stage at 4:30. The artist on before us had a very small audience of maybe 25 people so we worried that our audience wouldn't be much bigger, but it grew - maybe 200 fans, many of whom came to see AFT!
The boys blasted through a five-song set! And .... then it was done!
Kingdom Bound - we LOVE you!
Below, some pics of our visit!
|Robbert in the bumper car.|
|Dinner before the rides!|
|The Amped Tent with fans.|
|Q&A in the Amped Tent|
|The Amped tent - hanging with the kids. Band on left.|
|The boys with Festival Director Donna Russo.|
|Backstage Tour with Denny Kletzman|
|The PAC backstage tour|
OUR SHOW ON THE PARK STAGE!
|"The flip" - during "Falling Asleep"|
|Me, GI, Davey, Jordan, Evan, Robbert and Pip.|
|After the show, meeting fans.|
|AFT on the festival t-shirt, with all of our other|