Music unites people. It brings groups of all ages and all walks of life together to enjoy the universal love of song. Now in its 35th season, The Festival at Sandpoint continues to create an atmosphere that nurtures musicians and spectators alike year after year, with its annual summer concert series. For both the performers and audiences, each concert that takes place during The Festival is a success. What better way to spend a summer evening than enjoying a concert under the stars at Memorial Field? What most don’t realize—or what rarely crosses one’s mind—is what goes on behind the scenes to make each show happen, each season, seamlessly.
There are countless people behind the scenes, each and every year, working tirelessly to do their part in continuing to bring this spectacular music event to life. According to Executive Director Dyno Wahl, “We are celebrating 35 years of music under the stars on the lake in Sandpoint, Idaho, this year. I think the Festival’s secret of success over the years has been community support—from the generous contributions by individuals and businesses to the gift of many hours of time from hundreds of volunteers—The Festival at Sandpoint is treasured and celebrated by the people who make it happen.”
Dick and Mary Vail have been the chairs of artist transportation for the past 22 years. Mary is the director of transportation and is in charge of all of the scheduling of artist ground transportation including airport pickups as well as transportation when the artist is at the venue. They cover the headliners as well as opening acts. Dick is the main driver, and a majority of their drivers have worked with them for more than 15 years.
Involved for more than two decades, Mary has this to say: “We keep coming back because we believe in The Festival, and the folks we work with are wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about Dave Nygren [production manager] and the gals in the office. … The crew working backstage –especially hospitality—is great, and we have an excellent working relationship with them.” She added: “We are glad when all the rush is over the week following the final concert and have lots of memories to take with us.”
This year marks Sue and Art Andrews sixth year as co-chairs of backstage hospitality. Each day during The Festival, they work with tour managers to meet their needs throughout the day, which can involve setting up and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as arranging after-show food and being on the field from early morning to after midnight, including cleanup after each concert, and the list goes on. As they said regarding their involvement with The Festival at Sandpoint: “We enjoy contributing to the community by making the artists’ visit to Sandpoint a pleasant one, with professional and competent service while they are with us.” In addition, “The Festival is a very special event, both for artists and attendees, with our beautiful setting and facilities. We have a dedicated team of hospitality volunteers who work long hours and put a very friendly face on Sandpoint. We think that makes a big difference to the artists and their crews, and word gets around in the entertainment community, so that will encourage other artists to want to come here.”
2017 marks Susie Summerhill’s 21st anniversary volunteering with The Festival at Sandpoint, where she chairs The Festival merchandise program, whose job includes selecting and ordering the merchandise sold during The Festival, staffing the booth with volunteers for all the eight nights, and promoting and selling the merchandise. “I heartily support what The Festival means to the Sandpoint community, and I thoroughly enjoy working with the Festival staff and the volunteers,” she said. “My favorite part has been discovering and promoting local vendors who provide unique and quality merchandise.
Courtney Sanborne got involved with the Festival more than 15 years ago and has volunteered the past four years “making tasty beverages for thirsty festival goers” as a bartender. What keeps her coming back year after year? “The smiles!” she says. “Locals love it and visitors are blown away by the venue. So many good vibes happen at The Festival.” Her favorite part, when all is said and done? “Catching glimpses of happiness in action—kids dancing, family and friends sharing a blanket, couples snuggling, friends celebrating and of course, enjoying great live music!“
Join the stars—and the volunteers—under the stars at Memorial Field at The Festival of Sandpoint, with its eight nights of music and a season lineup that serves up its trademark eclectic mix with headliners Pink Martini kicking off this season August 3, followed by The B-52s (August 4), Jake Owen (August 5), The Head and The Heart (August 10), Iration and The Wailers (August 11), George Thorogood and The Destroyers (August 12) and the Spokane Symphony conducted by Gary Sheldon with piano soloist Tien Hsieh (August 13). Supporting artists include The Roman Candles and The White Buffalo. And don’t forget about the Family Concert, “The Frog Prince,” Sunday August 6, featuring The Festival Community Orchestra and Sandpoint’s Studio One Dancers.
Whether behind the scenes attending to the performers to those on the ground directly serving audience members; each and every volunteer’s contribution is essential and irreplaceable. This year when attending The Festival at Sandpoint, do a little something different. Extend a thank you and a warm smile to those festival volunteers with whom you come in contact. They are there for you, and your outdoor concert experience is made better thanks to them.
Festival Presents a Night of Local Talent on August 9
7B Stars: Charley Packard Tribute Concert
Featuring a multi-generational all-star local lineup, 7B Stars – A Night of Local Talent, will be held at Memorial Field as a tribute to Charley Packard, a Sandpoint legendary singer-songwriter, who passed away earlier this year.
Gates open at 6pm, with the performance starting at 7pm. The lineup includes The Charley Packard Band (including Charley’s three sons Jesse Harris, Mason Allison and Buck Harris, Charley’s granddaughter Maggie Harris, and Del Goff, Frank Moore and Ray Allen), Shook Twins, Bridges Home, John Craigie, Justin Landis, Neighbor John Kelly, Harold’s IGA, Justin Landtrip, Truck Mills, Beth Pederson, Ken Mayginnes, Dennis and Carol Coats, Michael Wagoner and John Stoll, Jacob Robin, and Tom Newbill with Sheldon and Robbie Packwood.
“The Festival is honored to present this evening showcasing so many of our talented local musicians who jumped at the chance to tribute someone who was influential to their own musical paths and gave so much to his community,” said Festival at Sandpoint Executive Director Dyno Wahl.
All tickets are now on sale for $20 inclusive of sales tax and city parks fee, available at FestivalAtSandpoint.com, 208.265.4554 or the Festival at Sandpoint Office located at 525 Pine Street in Sandpoint. Tickets can also be purchased locally at Eve’s Leaves, Evans Brothers Coffee and Eichardt’s. Proceeds from this additional Festival concert benefit the Charley Packard Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was established in his name to continue his lifelong mentorship of young musicians.