After a collective 31 hours on a music festival tour bus and the sinful consumption of fair-trade chocolates by the lb, I have one successful week of Lilith Fair Music Touring under my belt. It all started in the quaint but cozy South Bend Regional Airport. My flight to Minneapolis was short, the layover an ample 1 ½ hours, or so I thought. You savvy business and vacation travelers out there probably breeze through these layovers with great ease and confidence. I however, now know that when you see tram rides offered between concourses, you better take them. That “swift and healthy” walking option quickly turns into a rush for your gate. No worries, I obviously made it and the flight to Vancouver was comfortable and breathtaking.
Upon arrival we were immediately thrown into the action. Pre-production took place at the Pacific Coliseum, which hosted the 2010 Olympics figure-skating and short-track speed skating events. I shared a cab to the venue with Stephanie and Leslie from Togoware, whose reusable stainless steel food containers and bamboo utensils promote sustainable living. We were introduced to Annie and Casey from i4C who are sponsoring Better World Books, Togoware, and AlterEco at the Fair. It was a surreal moment standing out in the parking lot: Olympic signage still intact, snow-peaked mountains in the distance, speckled by over-priced and trendy urban houses on the way up. Vancouver is a far cry from northern Indiana.
Thursday was a calm day for the most part. Most of the hard work had been done and everyone was prepping for a small preview show with Sarah McLachlan. Her band had been practicing all week inside the Coliseum, but on this night they opened the final dress rehearsal to the crew. A crowd of no more than 150 afforded a transparent, intimate concert filled with last minute changes and conversations between band and artist. It was a perfect kickoff to the tour.
The buses… the buses are immaculate. These aren’t your standard “school trip to DC” charter buses. They have lounges in the front and back, full kitchens, bathrooms, and 12 bunks complete with bedding and drop-down DVD players. That being said, it’s still a bus. It’s been interesting adjusting to such a small space with so many people, but it’s slowly starting to feel like a home-on-wheels.
The road to Calgary took us out of the mountains and into “cowtown”, perfectly named as there are cows everywhere. The Olympic luge track and ski-jump were unexpected sites, hoisted up on a small hill-side together right on the highway. They seemed much taller in person and nowhere near the snowy mountainsides the television makes you believe they are.
The first show went off without a hitch. John Ujda our VP or Marketing came to meet me and it was nice to have a familiar face in the booth! The venue was sold out with 9000 tickets purchased. We had a great time introducing people to BWB. People were excited about what we were doing and eager to get in on the action. I can’t say that I blame them; our company’s pretty rad. OK, enough of the intro stuff. More meaty “backstage life” blogs to follow!