When it comes to setting up a three-day concert venue that could draw upward of 10,000 spectators per day, details matter. From lighting to sound equipment to building a 25-foot big air jump, all the small components need to come together to make a cohesive audio and visual experience.
To achieve that goal, the SnowGlobe team started working around the clock to prepare the site earlier this week for the music festival, which kicks off tonight. It's taken months of preparation and discussion with the city of South Lake Tahoe, but the hardware is finally coming together.
"The adventures started long before we arrived at the field. We had trucks that couldn't make it over the pass, we had flights canceled. We see a little bit of everything," SnowGlobe founder and producer Chad Donnelly said Thursday.
A trailer floundered in the deep snow and even a few snowmobiles had trouble on the packed field adjacent to the Lake Tahoe Community College, but Donnelly said the crew is on schedule for the 3 p.m. opening this afternoon.
"We're totally dialed in and we're feeling really good now. Everything's mapped out - sound, lights, power, heating. For everything you see, there's been months of preparation," Donnelly said.
The site was a hive of activity Thursday as the more than 300-person crew scrambled to build the scaffolding for the big air competition's jump, clear the field of the deep snow and set up sound equipment. Most of the team arrived at 7:30 a.m., and stayed until 11 p.m. to ensure that the venue would be ready to shake Saturday afternoon.
Constructing the stage was made more difficult by the snow on the ground. Stage Technician Alex Solis carefully checked that each separate piece was level before moving on to the next section. Volunteers knelt in the snow, shoving square wood planks under the stage's legs to level it.
"I think there's so many components that make set-up more challenging --making it so everything's synced," Donnelly said.
It takes more than just aligning the physical nuts and bolts to put on a show the size of SnowGlobe. Donnelly submitted the event application in May 2012 and the City Council voted to move forward with the festival on Aug. 21. In the time, the event team and the city have had to work together to smooth out all logistical details.
Last year's inaugural SnowGlobe sparked complaints about the noise, primarily from property owners who lived near the college. For the 2012 musical festival, the council required Donnelly to rotate the stage 180 degrees, limit the decibel level, ground the bass and reposition the speakers.
Those changes will be tested tonight, and Councilwoman Angela Swanson said she will be on hand to observe and monitor the event. Swanson said she welcomes people to call her with event feedback on either her personal phone or a special SnowGlobe hotline - 530-542-7429. So far she hasn't received any calls. The only feedback she's had has been positive.
"I have a 19-year-old. He and all his friends are so excited to see it back. They can't wait, and that feels great as a parent," Swanson said.
South Lake Tahoe spokeswoman Tracy Franklin is monitoring the hotline, which has only received seven calls since Nov. 30. And not one of the callers dialed to report a complaint.
"I was expecting more calls. We did put an information page on the city's website and we've been updating it regularly. I'm thinking that people have been utilizing it to get their information," she said.