What It’s Like To Introduce A Pepsi Grandstand Show
Every year at the Fair, we here at the stations take turns to help introduce the concerts.Of course it makes sense for a country DJ to introduce a country show, and someone like me to do the rock show. But people often ask me, what's it actually like to introduce the show? Well, I'll give you the general rundown so you can see a little bit of what it's like.
First of all, you have to enter the Grandstand in a certain entrance so they can check your media pass/ID. Alot of the workers have been there year after year though, so after a while they get so they recognize you. You've been there year after year too, after all. So then you go backstage. The general waiting area is to the side of the stage, and you'll probably have to show your pass to some State Troopers as well.
There's always a lot of equipment back there, usually a few big trucks worth of stuff. There's a little monitor for the crew to see what's being shown on the big screen out front. That's how we got to see last year's contest winner perform Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man). She was pretty darn good!
As you can see, there are people milling around everywhere, getting the details ready. Usually when you go back there, it's time to chill and wait til the head honcho is ready.
Sometimes if there's a meet and greet, you either step under a tent back behind the stage, or you go under the stage in the artist area. It's kind of like a big basement room with a lot of little side rooms and offices. That's where I met Joan Jett, and where we got to talk with Rodney from Atlanta Rhythm Section.
So you chill with your contemporaries, the band's crew, and the local Fair crew. This can be anywhere from ten minutes of waiting, to half an hour or so. We go up together/yet separately, if that makes sense. Everyone wants their own time, and usually nobody has any big issue with each other. We've known each other/of each other for years, and there's enough listeners in our area for all of us. Or at least, that's how I see it, ha!
As you can see here, there are some Honchos meeting. Usually there's one guy who's in control of the majority of the show, and he'll call you back behind the trucks to walk up the stairs to the stage. Then, it's just a matter of saying hi, telling the crowd what the boss wants them to know (either reading a script the band provided, or just telling ya'll they'll be ready in a minute) and throwing out shirts. It was nerve wracking the first few years I did it, but now it's not a big deal. After all, I know the audience didn't pay money to see me, they came for the show. They want me to throw my prizes and get the heck out.
Throwing out shirts is harder than it looks, by the way. You have to fold them a certain way so that you can get some grip on them, and so that they have enough weight to be actually thrown further than two feet. I don't have a big method for how I throw the shirts, I just try to actually get to people. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm not very good at throwing, generally. I would have taken pictures of the crowd but my hands were full!
Then, when you've done your intros and thrown out your prizes, generally for us it's time to go home. If it's a weekend sometimes we stay for the show, but generally if it's a weekday, you have to go home. My concert this year didn't involve me getting home from the Fairgrounds until eight at night, which is generally my bed time because I have to get up at four. But I can't just go home and go immediately to bed, you know, you have to wind down. So we're not leaving the concert because we don't love music - it's cause we have an early alarm in the morning!
Well, I hope this gave you a little insight into what it's like for us up there at your shows.
Enjoy the Fair!