GABBF volunteers put in long, sometimes stormy, hours

June 14, 2004|TIM WISEMAN

During the brass band festival, volunteers and workers do everything they can to keep things running smoothly. They haul band instruments back and forth across town, they pick up trash, and they fix any glitches that come up along the way - all so that most festival visitors do not even notice them.

Charlotte Crowley remembers seeing the bandstands and stages appear overnight and wondering how it all came together. She started volunteering with her father, grandfather and brother a few years ago, and now she realizes all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

"It's fun seeing all the stuff go up," said Crowley, who will be a senior at Danville High School. "Now I know how they did all that."

The days are long and often hot or stormy, but she said she still enjoys the work. "I like be able to say I did this and helped make it enjoyable," she said. "It feels good to have helped people have a good weekend."


After things are set up, everyone just handles whatever errand needs to be done, she said.

Errands can be far from ordinary

Sometimes, those errands can be far from ordinary.

One year, someone lost their car keys in one of the portable bathrooms, so they called a volunteer to help fish them out, said Al Atmore, who has volunteered every year.

Atmore said one worker used a magnet and pole to do the dirty work, but that's what the volunteers are there for, to get the job done. "It's like the post office," Atmore said. "It has go through; it has to be done."

Last year, Terry Crowley had to help a man who had slipped during the heavy downpours. He took the man to the emergency room and then back again when doctors discovered a hairline fracture in the X-ray.

"The weather is the toughest," he said. "You know the work is there, but it's a little different trying to work in the rain and lightning." Still, he said he finds time to enjoy the festival like everyone else.

"Once the music starts playing, it makes things a little more relaxed," said the Danville city commissioner. "That's the best part, being able to look out and see a hillside filled with people, and that's what you take pride in."

A fun way to spend time with friends

For Frankie Gates, working at the festival is a fun way to spend time with friends. "I really enjoy doing it," said Gates, who was working his third festival. "I like watching the Olympia Brass Band, too."

On Saturday morning, Burnell Newcomb and Gates worked to set up roadblocks for the parade - and to keep drivers from plowing through them anyway.

"We've had people try to drive through the roadblock," Gates said. "But we have not had any crises yet today."

Working his first festival, Newcomb enjoyed seeing the people the festival attracts.

"A lot of people come from all over to get a piece of Danville's heritage," Newcomb said. "It's nice to see that in a small town."

In a tent next to the main stage, Centre College student Brandon Floyd was working for the first time as well. He was part of the crew that cleared and rearranged the stage for each band. With 10 minutes to do all that between performances, the job can be pretty crazy, Floyd said.

And after the final performance, it would be time to clean it all up.

"It's hot and it's going to be a long day," he said. "But I like it and it's exciting."

Central Kentucky News Articles