Hullabalou organizers say they are ready to keep fans cool


by Joe Arnold

Posted on July 14, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 4:23 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - Nine days from Hullaballou, Churchill Downs is planning on up to 30,000 fans per day of the three day music festival. But, because it's a first time event, it's tough to predict. One thing that organizers can certainly expect in late July is hot weather.

Music fans from all but one U.S. state have bought tickets to Hullaballou.  There will be more than 65 bands on five stages over three days. Media, from Rolling Stone to a Grand Rapids TV station, plan to be in Louisville.

In May, the sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home.
In July, it's just hot.

Though Hullaballou headliner Jon Bon Jovi warns of "99 in the Shade," the WHAS11 long term forecast for the July 23, 24 and 25 festival only reaches into the mid 90's.  Organizers say they are ready, regardless of the high.

"From day one, we've been planning for the heat," said Brant McWilliams, Hullaballou Operations Manager, "We've been preparing for the heat.  We've tried to take every necessary precaution, every opportunity to make this an enjoyable experience for everybody."

In addition to the main stage, which has seating on the racetrack and in the grandstand, there are three other infield stages.

Closest to the Longfield Lot, the Fleur De Lis stage aims the music toward the first turn.

The Budweiser stage along the backstretch will aim the music the opposite direction, and the Kroger stage - closer to Central Avenue - aims the music toward the final turn.

Music fans at those stages could be baking in the sun for hours.  So, Churchill has three "Chill Zone" tents, a total of 20,000 square feet, with enough cooling off space for about 5,000 guests.

"These are very popular at festivals," said Churchill Downs Entertainment spokesperson Carolyn Mclean, "Large misting fans spraying cool mist so that you can chill out in our chill zone during Hullaballou."

The air conditioned third floor clubhouse will also be open. And as an added incentive to buy reserved seats now, those ticketholders can access a VIP tent in the infield that includes discounted food and drink.  A limited amount of onsite parking is still available for reserved seat holders.

With 150,000 people in attendance on Derby Day, Churchill is no stranger to crowds. The racetrack plans as many first aid stations as on Derby Day, for about 30,000 fans per day at Hullaballou.

"We have three major First Aid stations here at Hullaballou," McLean explained, "Two in the infield, one at the front side of the track.  But we have lots of heat spotters, folks walking around looking for anybody that may show signs of dehydration that we can treat them."
Hullaballou features 65 musical acts on five stages, including Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews Band.

Despite a prohibition on outside food and drink, Churchill is allowing each guest two 20 ounce bottles of water which can be refilled.

Organizers say 47,000 tickets have been sold so far, with a significant walk up crowd anticipated.