Friday, June 22, 2012

Toronto Jazz Festival - Day 1

As many of you know, I work for the jazz festival but you could only call it a "full time" job for these ten or eleven days. Yesterday, Day 0, was the real killer - trying to get all these computers online is always a challenge. This time it was exasperated by the fact that all the logins and passwords started with the same name and the provider dropped the "i" in one of the logins but you had to look real carefully to see that an "i" was missing (between a "t" and a "1"). Anyway I finally noticed tha, typed it in that way and "Halleluya!" the Box Office was open for business (and great business was done). In addition, the website crashed from more volume than it was used to and we had to get that back online. Musically I heard a bit of Brian Barlow's tribute to Duke Ellington - a lot of the crowd were members of the "Duke Ellington Society." Jannele Monae was the headliner today and she is a real buzz act (she sings on a Number One record by a group called Fun) and she delivered a terrific show - people loved it but it was a real torture test for the sound system. I never heard so much kick drum coming out of these speakers. Lots of bass (just the way my sone the DJ likes it) - I went for ear plugs, which I rarely do (I rarely remember to bring them) - but this time I needed them if I was going to be standing in front of those speakers. She had her own guy doing the sound and he loved his kick drum. He made it the centrepiece of the sound. I think I saw a slightly pained look on our in-house, front-of-house engineer, who has been with the festival for many years and has a global reputation. I don't think I'll go looking for more music tonight, but I think this day cost me more than some of the patrons. I arrived in the morning with the intention of getting a printer up and running and put $3.50 in the meter (for 1 hour!) and things took longer than I expected so when I got back to the car I had a ticket. So I figured I might as well leave the car where it is and wouldn't you know I get a second ticket three hours later. Then I put the car in the parking lot. Between the tickets and the paid parking it's nearly 80 bucks. Painful.

Janelle actually created a painting on stage (I wondered what an easel was doing in the production trailer) and at the end of the show asked who was having a birthday and when a young woman's ID was verified she became the proud and delighted owner of a Janelle Monae canvas. Now that's how you nurture fans.