Steve Leist, Colt Harrington and Stephen Woloschek of JSL Productions set up light rigging at the Edge Stage Wednesday afternoon. The stage used to be covered in a tent that was destroyed in severe storms Monday. Below: Bethany VanValin (left) and Wendell VanValin (right) talk with festival director Jeff James in front of a pile of couches from the youth worker tent, which was destroyed. Photos by Rich Copley.
Walking up to the Ichthus Festival's Edge Stage, I asked Steve Leist of JSL Productions if they were going to put a tent over the stage.
He motioned to a mangled pile of metal pipes stage right.
That was what was left of the old tent that got ripped off in severe thunderstorms Monday night, and a new one wasn't coming. So the Edge will have a more open feel this weekend.
In all, Ichthus Festival executive director Jeff James says that 14 of the festival's 19 tents were either blown down or even destroyed in the late night storm. So Wednesday, with the first notes of the fest scheduled to be played in seven hours, crews were rushing to redo in two days work that had taken two weeks. James had to bow out of a press conference in Lexington, in which the city voiced support for Ichthus' mission and environmental initiatives, saying, "I have one day to turn this around."
The open-air Edge Stage is one of the ways festivalgoers may notice the after effects of the storms, though James says that through the work of the volunteer crews, he hopes the damage will have little lasting effect.
In one of the resurrected merchandise tents, a supervisor gave a steady stream of instructions to volunteers.
Despite all the extra work, James was inclined to count some blessings.
"There was a lot of metal flying around in that storm," James says. "If there had been people out there, there definitely would have been injuries.
As tents popped back up and light rigs were set, a hot late spring sun was baking the ground at Ichthus farm dusty dry again.
There is a chance of thunderstorms Thursday night, and a better chance Friday, when a cold front comes through. That doesn't worry James much.
"As long as it's not massive and severe, rain is fine," he says. "It keeps the dust down."