A little over a year ago I started my volunteering adventure at the Laya Healthcare City Spectacular in Merrion Square. I wrote a blog about it last year, you can check it out here ;). So, it has been nearly a year and in that time I have volunteered at a lot of festivals. But, it was time to to go back to the City Spec, it’s not quite like the majority of other festivals or events: the open air; the performers; the Sun; the massive crowds; and the volunteers, there’s something a little different about it, but it’s a good difference!
This time I wasn’t nearly as nervous walking in to the orientation meeting as I was in 2015. I met up with people that I knew from last year and City Spec last year. A video I made from the festival in 2015 was being used as part of the presentation. That night Guru Dudu treated us all to a little Happy Yoga. At the end of the night, a few of us repeaters had a little dance to ABBA with GD.
Originally, I wasn’t to volunteer on the Friday, but after offering extra help, I would now be starting at 9am, to help with the set-up, but first breakfast. As the Spec is in Merrion Square, and Sophie works on Merrion Square, I though that meeting up for breakfast was in order. We met in the front square of Trinity and had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausages and toast in the Buttery. After we walked and chatted towards Merrion Square and the Volunteer tent, and Sophie said hi to Christina & Aoife.
I spent most of my time in the morning helping with the set-up of the volunteer tent, getting programmes and t-shirts from the office with Aoife. I helped deliver the bins and helped some of the area supervisors with what ever they needed.
Around 12 I was tasked with leading a group of American students down to the Custom House Quay to hand out programmes and let people know about the 2 special mini shows taking place around lunch time in the CHQ. I was happy with the extra responsibility and the volunteers under me were easy to deal with and nice people. I managed to see a little bit of both Lizardman’s and Alakazam’s shows, honestly, I was very impressed.
The rest of the day I just helped out around the volunteer tent, delivered some cinder blocks and I just tried to be helpful. I had a great day, but at the end of it I was tired and happy to be able to put my feet up!
On Saturday I got a bit of a sleep in, because I wasn’t starting until 11. On my way in I decided to come in through Just Eat street, and I got some great pictures.
This was one of the first days I was actually assigned an area, rather than just being a runner. I was helping Jess out at the Super Troopers tent. The first act was Titan the Robot, who honestly scared the crap out of me at first, he’s about 8 foot tall and big! Titan was very funny though, despite my initial reaction and I got to have a little part of the show, apparently Titan recognised me from ‘The Jeremy Kyle show’.
I got a little break during Get Fit Kids and got back in time for Guru Dudu’s Happy Yoga. Guru Dudu is a great entertainer, kids and grown ups both love his stuff, and in real life he is a really nice guy too. I got some great funny pics from his act.
The next act, and my final for the shift at the Super Troopers tent was the one, the only BOSCO!!! This was a manic show, everyone it seemed wanted to see this show, the tent was bursting and people blocked the entrance, as I was on the doors, I can tell you it got more than a little stressful, but the show was really fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I swear there were twice as many adults as kids during that show. After the show something amazing happened, I got to meet and get my picture taken with Bosco.
I was technically finished for the day at this stage, but knew extra hands would be needed and I was going to the party that night, heading home alone for a few hours seemed like the worse option by a long shot. I had a bit of lunch and before I knew it I was delivering cinder blocks to stages for Lizardman’s act. Though I did get to watch the amazing Kamikaze Fireflies show. They are funny and amazingly talented, the finale is incredible, but you will have to see & decide for yourself.
When I got back there was a little commotion over 1 of the acts, let’s just say they were being divas of the highest order. Because they knew they could trust me and I could handle them, I was assigned to them for their last show on Saturday and all 3 of their shows on Sunday (and the eventual 7 shows they played in Cork too).
I headed over to the Rainbow stage with Aisling, who was a bit sorry I had to do this, but glad I could be counted on. I was introduced to Carl, a nice guy from EQ (sound engineers) and asked to talk to him after the Chipos show, so I just had to sit & wait. Chipolatas show the first time was good, a bit of comedy, some cool but basic tricks, although I think the shortened performance time, due to sound checks, actually helped them.
After their show was finished, I spoke with Carl again, and we made a check-list of all the tech equipment the Chipos would need. My job was to make sure that Chipos were happy during their shows, get the tech equipment from stage to stage and help with set-up if needed. Thankfully Chipos would be playing their first show on Rainbow stage on Sunday.
After finishing up at the site on Saturday Shane, Christina, Aoife and myself headed to Everleigh Gardens for the City Spec party. We met up with the other volunteers and the organisers, ate free food and had a few drinks over a nice chat. Later, we got another special show from Lizardman, he did some interesting things with a condom and another performance from Alakazam, you can see them in the video below.
I didn’t have long at the volunteer tent, before Aoife asked me to head to Rainbow stage for Chipolatas. On the way there I ran into my bro Steve and my nephew/Godson Fionn, and told them what were the good acts that they should see. When I got to rainbow, I was able to see the end of Garraghty & Thom’s show. It was a combination of circus acts and comedy, I really enjoyed it, but wished I could have seen more.
I had little to do at Rainbow until the Chipolatas were finished, afterwards I met with Carl again and we packed up all of the equipment for Chipos and walked it over to the Red stage, I was lucky another volunteer was there, so I only had to make 2 trips instead of 3, and I ran into Alison & Steve and I finally got to meet my newest nephew Rian.
I spent most of the day dealing with the Chipolatas (although most of it was a lot of sitting & waiting). Later, I nearly lost my arms when I had to carry a couple of crates of water and then had to deliver even more cinder blocks. Thankfully, I finished with the Chipos at 5:30. At the end of the day, as it was the last day, we had to take in all the bins, take down the stages, and empty the volly HQ. That night around 9, after everything had been taken care of, we headed to McGrattan’s pub nearby and shared drinks & conversations with friends.
Cork is still to come…