Annual Special Event Provides Ultimate Operator Stress Test

Jim Luff
Posted on May 20, 2015
Sometimes I wish my friends outside the industry had a better idea what I do for a living.  This Memorial Day weekend, Bakersfield, Calif., will host an inaugural music festival similar to Stagecoach, Woodstock, Lollapalooza and others with the hopes of becoming larger.  


The Bakersfield Rock & Country Music & Art Festival features 50 musical acts on seven stages.
 
The artists include current luminaries such as Kellie Pickler, Clay Walker, Gloriana, LeeAnn Rimes and Ricky Skaggs to some relics like B.J. Thomas, Chris Montez and Chubby Checker.
 
Needless to say, I have been a little stressed out. Last weekend, while sharing my stress with a friend, he said, “I don’t understand why it is so hard. People tell you what time to pick them up and where they want to go and you enter it into a computer.” Really?

That’s all great until you are dealing with 285 people that need a ride in a single day and you are tasked with getting each of them to the stage on time. They begin arriving a day before and the festival is using a total of seven hotels to house all the acts and their entourages. It is my job to keep track of all this data. Add to that, some people can’t ride in the same vehicle together. Some won’t ride in a white van. They might have to that day! Some “may” stay after their own act if they want to watch a fellow artist perform and yet I am expected to handle these last minute changes.

If you have ever handled a job of this magnitude, you understand that it is so much more complicated than the level my friend diminished me to as a data input clerk. That job ends on Sunday. We get Monday off for the holiday to recuperate and then on Tuesday we start transportation for The Eagles while they tour in California. It’s an exciting business we are in but we also are very aware that any mistakes rest on our shoulders.

Related Topics: California operators, fleet management, Jim Luff, operations, Shop Talk blog, special events

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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