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Chill Set upThe Big Chill is opening its gates to early bird ticket holders today, and the festival starts in earnest on Thursday evening. Over the last two weeks, a team of festival workers has been setting up the site. The image with this blog shows the main stage nearly complete, but without wiring for sound and lighting. The duck that can be observed in front of the stage will move on to a more welcoming environment before the first chord is struck. Elsewhere on site, other stages are appearing, the fences are mostly up and a few festival goers are appearing in the area and buying last minute tickets.

This year, there is a great line up, headlined by Kanye West, the Chemical Brothers and rodrigo y gabriela. The famous DJ, Mr Scruff, is back, and there is an Art Trail presented by Saatchi Online. There is storytelling for the younger element and, importantly, cocktail bars, real ale and gourmet food for everyone else.

For those who want every day items, an hourly bus service is being run into Ledbury, two miles away. This should boost business and provide a safer transit than the verges of the local roads. Big Chill radio is about to go live, and we have had the great benefit of having a mobile phone signal here for the past week as the temporary transmitters in the Park have been turned on. The weather has been kind during the last two weeks, and we hope it lasts over the festival period. Glastonbury is for mud, and we do not want to compete.

JH-B
3rd August 2011

Big Chill Set Up

The Big Chill has rolled into town, or rather into the Deer Park at Eastnor. Yellow signs warning of possible delays and denying access to area not normally associated with the event, except by the seriously, lost, have appeared like pilot fish in advance of the progress of a whale. Aggreko generators have sprung up amongst the oaks and whispered to life as well, providing power to the Production and Licensing Offices and other facilities for the team on site.

Before the stages are constructed, up to 15 miles of fencing is put up to make the site secure. The articulated lorries delivering these weighty loads arrived in good weather with firm ground conditions, which was a great help. Trackway goes down to make a temporary, all-weather road across areas where we cannot put new tracks, and bridges are thrown across streams and ditches to allow access from camping areas to the main site. Lighting in the form of strings of light bulbs stretches across the fields to guide the Chillers to and from the main arenas. Day by day, more elements of the festival appear, with the first arrivals due in a week.

It is a great activity to observe. All has to be in place before the authorities will allow the festival to start, so there is a great sense of urgency. Strange items are delivered to the Castle by mistake, so they are quickly transferred to the Park. As the start approaches, access to the Park gets harder, and 24 hour a day buzz increases. It will all look and sound wonderful when the time comes, and we hope thousands will have a memorable visit to Herefordshire and Eastnor for this great event. They always have so far.

JH-B
28th July 2011