Simply put, working the festival was fun, it had its ups and its downs, but it ended up kicking my ass in the end.
After the parade, I spent part of the night on the festival site with JH going over setup and making sure there were no crises to deal with. Since there wasn't any major issue, JH eventually took me and another person back to the hotel where I crashed until about 5:30 AM.
Got up at that time, showered, and we were back to the festival site around 7ish, where we were then immediately working on getting things set up and delivered to places. JH was over helping with vendor check-in, I delivered radios to some folks, and we went all over the place, making sure setup was going fine, and also making sure no one was crossing over the required fire lanes.
As it got closer to the time to open, I headed over with another person to collect a few more Segways for the security people from Segs in the City, we brought those back and then I would spend the next hour driving a flat bed golf cart to get stuff delivered to places, such as drinks and ice to the beer gardens (they couldn't open unless all the non-alcoholic drinks were in place), coolers and barrels to the volunteers up front, and just getting stuff moved around.
The festival opened and so I basically spent most of the day doing roaming security and also moving supplies to places. There really isn't much to note security wise, the worst we had to deal with was one of the bible thumpers standing on a wall somewhere screaming at the crowd, but we kept an eye on him and he eventually left.
So I was basically out for the day, walking around, keeping in touch with other folks via radio, getting supplies to places. Eventually in the afternoon I grabbed some lunch and then sat in some air conditioning to try and cool off. JH told me to take breaks as much as possible, but we were kept busy enough that it wasn't happening.
Eventually it got to the end of the festival and so we started breaking things down, getting the Segways back to Segs in the City, loading up stuff, and that's the point where I just hit my limit. I had been out in the sun for about 14 hours, moving for most of that time, and I overheated. I wasn't expecting to overheat because I had been slugging down the water all afternoon, and I was pissing clear, so I should have been well hydrated. I was waiting to take the carts back, but then the headache and the nausea started, so I texted JH (since he was supposed to go with me to take the carts back) and said "Plz hurry, getting sick." He wetted down a shirt and put it over my head while going to get his car. He took me back to the hotel and dropped me off so he could head back to the site. I laid down for about an hour, got up, puked my guts out, then laid down and passed out for the rest of the night.
Like I said, the end kicked my ass, but it made for a rather intriguing perspective to see just what it takes to actually put on Pride and what is going on behind the scenes, especially when you have less than 10% of your promised volunteers actually show up. No joke, we had a list of about 400 volunteers that were supposed to show up...I hear that maybe 15 of them actually did. Seriously folks, it makes things so much harder when you put your name down to help and then pull a no-show. It's amazing how much is pulled off with so little, but the quality of Pride could be even better if people would actually commit to helping out. Perhaps I could have actually been able to stay out of the sun and not end up sick later if our volunteers were actually there :-)
Still, I'm glad I got the opportunity to do this. How many people can actually say they helped plan for and worked at one of the largest GLBT Pride festivals in the US?
Will I do it again next year? We'll see...