Organizers rushing to complete CityFest prep

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Over the next few days, crews will be working to transform what normally is a tranquil park containing a playground and sports fields into a landscape packed with live music venues, dozens of vendors and excitement.

Every year, the week leading up to Alabaster’s CityFest is a busy one for volunteers, members of the Alabaster Arts Council and work crews as they rush to ensure everything at the city’s Municipal Park is prepared to host the big event.

“We have had a busy week already, just preparing for everything,” Arts Council President and Ward 3 Alabaster Councilman Adam Moseley said May 27. “And next week is going to be real busy.”

After the Memorial Day holiday, crews began roping off the festival area, hauling everything from tents to portable toilets and assigning spots to each vendor scheduled to sell during the event.

The crews attempt to get as much completed as they can early in the week, but some things must be held off until the last minute, Moseley said.

“We really get going on the Wednesday before, and we start assembling the main stage on Thursday,” Moseley said. “But Friday is always non-stop every year, because you have to get the sound equipment set up and tested.”

This year’s festival will feature several local musicians, such as the Hunter Lawley Band and Sanchez Tannehill, and big-name acts Vertical Horizon and Craig Morgan.

Because the event features bands performing back-to-back nearly all day, ensuring every performer is ready to go before the festival is a major part of the Arts Council’s preparations, Moseley said.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Moseley said with a laugh. “You’ve got artists and their crews coming and going all week.”

This year will mark the ninth edition of CityFest, and many of the Arts Council volunteers have been with the event since its genesis. As a result, planning and setting up for the event has gotten progressively easier over the years, Moseley said.

“Because this is our ninth year, we have kind of been able to make a checklist to go over as we are setting up,” Moseley said. “A lot of the people who are helping us this year have been doing this since the beginning, so we feel like we are ready for it.”

But even the most extensive of checklists can not cover everything, as something unexpected happens every year during set-up, Moseley said.

“There is always something unexpected that comes up at the last minute every year,” Moseley said, noting many last-minute problems have come about because of weather conditions. “You think you have everything covered, and then something happens.

“It’s easy to get the big things right, but the devil’s in the details. It’s always the little things that end up causing problems,” Moseley added. “But we’ve got a great group of volunteers, so we have been able to deal with everything.”