Stage set to ease any blues
IT TAKES a crew of 14 two-and-half days to put it up. And 10 years after it was first made, the marquee used for the Mojo stage at the Blues Festival is still the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. At 84 metres long and 52 metres wide, it will hold about 6000 people.
Warren Lennon runs the hire company that puts up all the big marquees at the Blues Festival.
"We only put it up once a year now. The Blues Fest still want it. It's probably got another five or six years of life in it because the material is still good We're just getting a bit%older," he said.
Warren will oversee the construction of all seven of the big marquees at the Blues Festival site and said the newer ones were a lot easier to put up.
"The technology just gets better all the time," he said. He should know. Warren's family have been in the tent%business for five generations, or 114 years.
"My grandfather and great-grandfather used to have to hand stitch everything."
The Lennon family also run the Lennon Brothers Circus and the Stardust Circus, so as well as putting up marquees, Warren has worked as a lion tamer and a catcher on a%trapeze.
"We've got one lioness that is 19 years old and she won't perform unless I give her a bit of a rub on the tummy," he said.
The Blues Festival has moved back to Belongil Fields for the first time since 1996. One of the new features they are bringing to the site is two big food halls that will seat up to 400 people.
According to site manager Colin Skales, all the food will now be inside the marquees so people can queue and order under cover.
"The director's have listened and responded to comments people have made on the website, and the main ones have been that there wasn't any room to sit down and we needed somewhere to get out of the elements. This is all about taking Blues Fest to another level."
This is Colin's second year as site manager, which means he's responsible for making sure 20 toilet blocks, 200 wheelie bins and 5.5km of fencing are all in place, as well as thousands of other logistical considerations.
"We've been preparing for the inevitable bad weather and spent time and money with the rain over the last few months looking at where the problem areas are and taking them out," he said.
"There are challenges associated with any site. This one can get very boggy and we also have some environmental issues, particularly with the Wallum froglet which is an endangered species."