BAY COUNTY, Fl - Panama City Beach is becoming known as the host of one of the best music festivals in the country.
As the producers of Gulf Coast Jam are planning the 5th edition, set for Labor Day weekend, including the biggest line up yet. News13's Tom Lewis gained All Access behind the scenes of the SpringJam in April.
It looks like a great way to make a living, organize a weekend concert festival, hobnob with some stars and listen to some great music. But looks can be deceiving.
Rendy Lovelady is the show producer. "If you don't know what you're doing, this will eat you alive."
Lovelady has been managing recording acts and promoting concerts for 30 years. His two biggest events are the Labor Day weekend Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam and SpringJam. A lot goes into such a production.
"The production system that it requires to play to 30,000 people is massive, Lovelady said, "I mean, it's just massive, and if you don't know what you're doing with that, you can hurt people."
There is also a portable hospital set up to treat anything on a minor level but they have access to get it fixed in a major level, rapidly.
"So, if somebody has a heart attack, we have a way to deal with it." Lovelady said.
Hosting thirty thousand people is equivalent to running a small city for three days. That requires some of the same services. Take gasoline for example.
Lovelady says, "We have all those carts and trucks and things that are going on all around you. Well, they can't like go to the gas station and get re-filled up, so we have to have our gas on site."
There are also police officers, security and a make shift jail, all for the safety of the concert-goers.
"They have to feel like they're in an environment that is protected, Lovelady said, I mean we have miles of fence, miles of fence that have to be put up,and then they have to feel the conveniences as best they can, to where they can go to the restroom," Lovelady said.
And don't forget about the food and drinks.
"Every booth, every tent, every toilet, every power supply, every water supply is on a map, Lovelady explains, my partner Mark, he has it down to longitude and latitude." Producer Lovelady says he also needs insurance, or there is no show.
And of course, the funding, up front, long before the first act takes the stage.
"In the festival business, everything's up-front, Lovelady said, we can't get the tickets, we can't get the sponsorships, we can't get anything until the event happens." Lovelady says you have to fund a multi-million dollar event to where it is all paid before it even starts."
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