Welcome to Jfest! You walk in, buy your Jbucks, take a seat, enjoy the music and meander around checking out the booths, food, or Kidsworld. Itâ€™s a magical land of funnel cakes, shaved ice, music, and fellowship. That is what the public gets the chance to experience. On the other side we (the staff) get to see everyone enjoy the hard work. This is the reason I enjoy event management. You get to watch your dream of making people happy a reality, even if it is only for a day. It is seeing all of the puzzle pieces coming together to form one beautiful picture of completion.
One of the pieces to the puzzle is putting up all the orange fencing that keeps people from going where they shouldnâ€™t. This task involves pounding metal bars into the ground and zip tying on the fencing. Sounds easy enough right? It is as long as you donâ€™t loose control of the pounder. Well, Justin lost control and the 20 or so pound pounder came and hit him right in the head sending him to the ER to get his skin glued back together.
Puzzle piece number two is putting up all the signs and banners around the camp. Two other people and I were put in charge of putting the J103 banner all the way down the fence. Also a pretty straightforward task except when all the fire ants decide that is where they want to build their homes. Needless to say we got a few bites before we learned our lesson to look where we stepped.
It might sound like it was all work, some injury and no play, but that is not how the J103 staff operates. We always have a little fun at the end of the day. During set up week our fun was in the form of a golf cart race. We lined up in the parking lot and took off. The first five seconds was the most exciting part because all of our cars had different rates at which they sped up. Once we all topped out at a certain speed the race wasnâ€™t really much of race anymore, but it was still fun because we got so competitive about it.
Once all the set up was complete I was stationed at the main entrance for ticket sales and will call. This was probably my favorite piece of the puzzle because the team at the desk is the first impression people get of Jfest and I think all of us were striving to get everyoneâ€™s day started off right. I got to meet a ton of people and wish them a happy day.
I was then put in the position to pass out surveys to festivalgoers to get their opinion on Jfest. That was also a lot of fun because I got to fellowship with some of them and find out their opinion about the festival.
What I have learned from this whole experience is that it takes tremendous amount of work to put together a festival of this magnitude and the aftermath of evaluations and clean up is a tedious process. Surveys had to be evaluated, tickets had to be counted, vendors had to be paid, and cost-profit analysis had to be evaluated. Finishing all that work was very rewarding because I was able to see the impact Jfest has on others along with the impact it has on the mission of J103.