MILWAUKEE — Rain or shine, crews on the Summerfest grounds have been grinding to get the place ready for swarms of music fans.
By Monday afternoon, workers and vendors experienced the cool rain and blazing sun.
Gayelin Littell, executive producer of the music festival, took our crew around the grounds to see the work most visitors do not see.
Littell's role and years of experience with Summerfest has allowed her to "wear many hats." She can be compared to a conductor directing the loading and set-up and working with operations and event production to pull off an 11-day festival.
"I have a ton of help. Otherwise this would be nearly impossible," said Littell.
The music festival has 40 people who work full time year round and about 2,000 seasonal employees. Littell said getting the grounds ready starts in mid-April. This year the rain has been a challenge.
"We get so used to working in all kinds of weather. So we will then turn our focus to inside. Some of the things we can do inside while it’s raining really hard and then get back out there," said Littell. She added the rain has not completely slowed down things, but it can change their workflow.
Less than 48 hours from opening day, food and retail vendors have been moving in. Crews are cleaning and getting the sound systems and stages ready.
Things will only get busier.
"Opening day is my favorite even though it’s just very crowded. It is so much fun to see everyone smile and enjoy the grounds and all the fruits of your labor, you know, come to life, and people are having a good time. That’s what it’s all about," said Littell.