An Hour From Gates Opening...

By Tony Billoni

Thursday, July 11th, Evening

We are an hour away from the gates opening here at the Mospost Speedway in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the wilds of Canada. Actually it's about 50 miles north east of Toronto if you want to get technical about things. If you really want to find out you had better have a ticket because there are about three rings of security (very pleasant and helpful btw) to pass through even before you hit the parking gates.

The promoters wanted to take 60,000 of their friends on a spacey journey in the middle of summer and once you have passed through the gates, surrendered your ticket and boarded the procured school bus to the main gates or campsite, you will truly be transformed. I mean there is nothing out here to make you think of the city. Yeah, sure you're gonna get taken care of for all the creature comforts like food, beverages, and condoms but the setting is more like some renaissance faire than a modern rock concert.

Here on the day leading up to the gates opening we met a few of the vendors and support staff who will help make this odyssey happen.

Setting Up Eden
(video collage)

41 sec (1.61MB)

Mosport is a Grand Prix style race track. It was a logical move to use the curvy race surface as the path for all the shuttle busses. The busses will run from the main concert stage to all the camp sites and outlying areas. We met Laurie, Jackie and Patty the first three drivers who will be joined by an army of 50 driving a shift of 18 yellow school buses around the track.

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Photo by Karen Grimes

"The bus to Ever Eden Land"

While Pauline and Jackie would rather be listening to Garth Brooks on their AM radio, Jackie pledges to stop her bus so she can get out and listen to Tracy Bonham live. We were wondering if the drivers had taken any special training given the rigors of rounding a sanctioned Grand Prix race track. While these monster people moving rods don't come equipped with bored out pistons or re-fitted with 18" wide slick tires, Laurie confessed to getting some tips from Cat Teasdale a Grand Prix veteran. They don't seem to feel the need for crash helmets or fire suits, or checkered flags either. They even promised to let concert goers chew gum while riding, just remember, don't step ahead of the white line while the bus is in motion---it's the law.

We also met Jim a concessionaire, whose kid came home a couple of months ago with a ticket to Eden Fest. He ended up becoming the Sam Drucker of the entire territory. Sam, you may remember from another lifetime, ran the general store in Hotterville on the comedy classic green Acres. I didn't see Eve Gabor anywhere but Jim promises everything from chips to condoms all day and into the night.

Jim runs a bunch of stores in the real world called 'Stretch A Dollar' and he promises not to gouge the people here at Eden. Every morning he'll have thousands of fresh baked goods delivered to the site including honey buns, Danishes and fritters to go with that first cup of joe.

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Photo by Sherri Wheatley

We had to hit one of the key nerve centers for the entire festival, a place where if one person messed up in their job, utter chaos would ensue. We are talking of course, about the omnipresent beer tents. Andrew Donaldson from Draft Fest plans on pouring at least 200,000 Labatt's Blue, or the ever popular Ice over the next few days. Helping him will be four tent managers and over 100 staff pourers. Andy describes his team as "a draft lubed, fine tuned, well oiled beer serving machine."

If that weren't enough, as if serving you a tall cold one wouldn't keep you happy, the beer people are charged with keeping the libations going long after the last band hits their final note each evening. To do this they have their own minister of fun known by many names. Our best guess is Frank Sicoli, and he seems to be some kind of a cross between Mr. Rogers, Richard Simmons and Julie, the cruise director from the Love Boat. We look forward to meeting him later this evening to tell you exactly what his gig is.

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Photo by Sherri Wheatley

until then later....

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