Stretched: Pavilion covered, hiring staff

With the Charlottesville Pavilion's July 30 grand opening Loretta Lynn show just two weeks away, general manager Kirby Hutto is "absolutely" confident the city's newest entertainment venue will be ready.

At press time, workers from Hungary, where the fabric that covers the amphitheater was made, were stretching the membrane, and Hutto promises it'll be up by the time this issue hits the stands.

Likewise, the city says its portion of the east end Mall expansion is on target. Although all of Seventh Street won't be finished, "That won't have an impact on the use of the amphitheater," says Public Works Director Judith Mueller.

Nor will the installation of some wrong-colored bricks in front of City Hall. Those will be replaced at a later date, she says.

The pavilion gets a trial run July 27 with Tiny Universe, and again July 29 when Terri Allard performs for Fridays After 5.

Hutto sent out a letter to 55 nonprofit groups July 10 offering them opportunities to staff both Fridays After 5 and the concert season.

That may not be enough manpower. "There are always instances when groups come up short at the last minute," says Hutto, who pitched in himself to pour wine July 1.

Fridays After 5 needs 55 volunteers; a concert in the pavilion will use 80 volunteers, and each group earns around $8.50 an hour for each warm body it provides.

To avoid volunteer shortages, the pavilion plans to hire between 100 and 150 people as part-time staff to provide a pool of workers to fill in any holes, Hutto says. He's holding a job fair July 20 from 5:30 to 9pm at the Downtown Recreation Center to draw the will-work-for-music crowd.

Volunteers– if there are enough– will still pour beer at the concerts, "one of the more fun jobs for groups," says Hutto, as well as check IDs, watch the gates, take tickets, and usher.

One difference concertgoers will see at the ticketed events: beer hawkers.

"The flow is different from Fridays After 5," says Hutto. "There's a huge rush before the show and during intermission. If there's a huge line of 25 people, hawkers can provide guerilla marketing" to help disperse lines of thirsty music fans.

Last week, the Charlottesville Pavilion announced that local group Old School Freight Train will open for Lynn, and that Violent Femmes (August 25) and Spin Doctors (September 11) have been added to the line-up.

Hutto expects the Loretta Lynn show, a fundraiser for Live Arts, to sell out this week. The $250 Gold Circle and box seats sold through Live Arts have been snapped up and are almost gone, although some $125 tickets remain. At press time on the Charlottesville Pavilion website, tickets were available in the orchestra for $49.50 and $39.50, and on the lawn for $29.50.

The amphitheater is designed to hold 3,500 seats– and Charlottesville Pavilion is shooting for 3,750: 2,500 under the tent, 250 box seats, and 1,000 lawn spaces. Hutto calls those numbers fluid, and says they won't really know until the chairs are set up. "If they're off by one-half inch on the chairs, that could affect capacity," he notes.

Chairs will be packed up and stored after every show, leaving Fridays After 5 as general admission as always, with plenty of room for those who dance up front.

Hungarian workers stretch the fabric that will make rainouts, long a plague of Fridays, a thing of the past.