Set-up for the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame County Music Festival began on Monday, Tommie Ritter Smith, president of the Panola County Chamber of Commerce, said.
This year’s show is moving back to the Carthage Civic Center, and getting everything ready takes a week-long effort from about 100 volunteers.
“Everything we need for the show has to be moved out to the Civic Center,” Smith said. “We have to enter into contracts with the entertainers and satisfy what they need. We have to set up dressing rooms; we have to set up snack stations; we have to feed the bands; we have to set up the stage, decorate the stage, change it out on Saturday for the second show, set up sound. It’s just, it’s an all-week thing. It takes a lot of people.”
The John Ritter Tribute Showcase is Friday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Linda Davis will be the emcee, and guests Holly Tucker, Billie Jo and Scott Hampton will perform as well.
The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Show on Saturday night will honor Jeannie C Riley, Claude Gray and Rodney Crowell. Dallas Wayne will emcee, the Gatlin Brothers will be the headlining performance and special guests Tony Booth and Amber Digby will also perform. It will take place at 6 p.m. at the Carthage Civic Center, and tickets are $60 both in advance at the Chamber of Commerce and at the door.
Volunteers don’t just help set-up the show, Smith said.
“We also have people that help the people when they come into town, they come in on buses, we have to have runners for them, that kind of thing,” Smith said.
Billy Ray Cowan, director of the Carthage Civic Center, was putting up the bleachers with some volunteers on Monday afternoon.
“That’s the easy part,” he said. “And then 550 chairs, and getting them set up to the specifics for the set ups, seat alignment, row A, seat F, and after that it’s all the little stuff. Setting up for each vendor, each star requires certain tables, certain chairs and set up rooms, shower rooms, stuff like that. I’ve got a list three pages long, all the little stuff, and that’s what just takes time.”