As the 4pm show in Waltham, MA came to a close yesterday evening, the entire staff jumped full speed into action. All hands were on deck as the bleachers were loaded out, lights lowered, tents taken down and the back lot disassembled. Thus began our overnight jump to the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.
During a standard jump, at the end of the show each department will begin taking down their own things, the concessionaires packing up concessions, tent crew taking down the tents. Everyone gets to sleep by 1:30am and wakes up early to pack up the area where the staff lives, known as the backlot. By 7:30am, the vehicles – 25 total– set down the road to the next location where setup begins midmorning.
This time though, everyone helped out with everything. As soon as a department finished their own tasks, they found other things to do. With many hands, teardown moved quickly but there was no rest to be had once everything was down. Rather, off we went down the road. I travel in the truck that tows the Pie Car, our kitchen on tour. As one of the first vehicles off the lot, we were on the road by 8:30pm and pulled up to the Three County Fairgrounds around 10:30pm. Here, large balloon shaped lights were blown up to illuminate the dark field. I helped run hoses from the water source to the pump while other people ran cable connecting the bunks to electricity. With the whir of the generator and the mechanic roar of the electric stake driver, tent crew began to raise the tents.
When I finally went to bed, around 1:45am, I took a last look at the silhouetted bodies working tirelessly across the lot. In the morning when I woke up, what was once a dark and empty field glimmered in sunlight reflecting off the tents. Though I’m told tent crew took a break to sleep, they were working when I went to sleep and were back at work first thing in the morning. The overnight jump was exhausting but also joyful. Each person contributed what they could, helping things move as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It was teamwork at its best!