BROWNSVILLE, Ore. — As they say, “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” folks at the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival think differently.
The festival certainly isn’t broken. But for them, that’s not good enough, so there will be changes this year.
The festival is a five-day event and three days of music, but planning for it is a year-round project. In fact, plans for the 2013 festival were being discussed even before the 2012 festival played out.
And now, the day before thousands of guests arrive.
“Probably a little worried, but, we’re always worried about it coming off with no glitches,” said property owner Reed Anderson.
Thinking like a farmer, Anderson admits at this point there is little that could go wrong.
For others, the work and worrying never ends. After all, if they weren’t concerned at this late hour, they never would have gotten this far to begin with. In fact, years ago, few believed the festival could get off the ground at all. Don Leber did.
“The exciting thing is we had that vision and thought, and of course for a lot of people it was hard to see because we had nothing,” said Don Leber, Bi-Mart Director of Advertising.
They shot for the stars and reached them, both in terms of dreams and entertainers.
“There was a lot of people that shook their head and said that’s not going to happen that now have jumped on the bandwagon and said now we get it. It’s exciting and they’re all on board,” Leber said.
At first Reed was among those not entirely sold. And that’s why he’s a bit blown away now to see 1,000 acres on the verge of being covered by a concert stage, seating, vendors, camping, parking, and of course, the porta-potties.
It’s news that will come as a relief to many, and so will news about other bigger changes this year. First and foremost, general admission parking has moved south and west.
“We do have some different traffic this year. The G.A. traffic will filter down Courtney Creek which should alleviate some of that congestion,” said Anne Hankins, President of Willamette Country Concerts.
Courtney Creek drive circles around the south side of the entire venue. It is both east and west of Main Ranch Lane where G.A. parking has typically entered.
Other changes — a third jumbo-tron and a tweak to the stage allowing a better view from areas to the left and right of it. And for those watching on Friday on the monitor or the big stage, know that work is already under way on making the 2014 festival even better.
“We’ve been working on 2014 for about four or five months already and it’s going to be phenomenal,” Hankins said.
When it begins, they’ll be just as nervous as they are today. Campers will notice those changes Thursday when they start rolling into the festival parking.