The crew members are the stars during Jazz Fest set-up

Jazz Fest preps underway

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It's time for fine tuning with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival just days away, and the Fair Grounds is buzzing with activity. The music and food take center stage, but somebody had to build the stage, and the gates and the food booths.

Keith Brewster has been working on the building crew since 1974. He said, "They have no clue. No clue what it takes to build a foundation or a city on it." Brewster is responsible for everything that's made of wood. He said, "Mostly the ADA, the ramps, the towers. I think I touch almost everything."

Vendor booths or stands or steps all get approval from Brewster or John Hinds, his partner, in making sure everything is ready and up to standard. He's been here pretty much since the beginning. Brewster said, "I feel a part of it. Like this is my family and these are my kids. It used to be the other way around 40 years ago."

Tague Richardson is the Jazz Fest Site Director. "I tell you this puzzle has never stopped being a thrill to me," he said. He has to keep all the pieces together. Richardson said, "I stand in awe of what it represents and I come back, actually I wait all year to come back."

Days before the music begins, there's a concert of a different kind with many crews working in harmony. While there is much attention to detail, the busiest time comes when vendors and acts move into the site. "Usually every one of them needs a little more of something when they get here," said Richardson.

They are always ready for anything the weather may bring. Richardson said, "Always, always. We have a lot of contingencies ready to deal with whatever we have to deal with to get us through. We've been through some pretty monumental times." Especially important as the masses move in. "Quint's always said that it's the third biggest city in Louisiana once it gets going. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds good," Richardson said.

Brewster said, "Come out, bring your hats, your suntan lotion and your love."

Enjoy the first weekend of one of the most anticipated events of the year Friday, April 28.

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