Bigger tents come in handy at festival
GRIFFITH — At this point, Griffith’s annual Labor Day festival could be renamed “Rock ’n’ Rain Fest,” and it would be just as appropriate.
Fortunately for the crowded festival, a new configuration saved visitors from the storms that raced through the area early Saturday evening. That configuration came as a second stage in the beer tent.
“We put the second stage in for two reasons: One, so people could have music inside the beer tent between the main acts, and two, if the rains got to be too bad, the main acts can play under it if need be,” Town Council President Rick Ryfa said. “We watched the storm as it came through out of nowhere.”
But thanks to bigger tents, no one got drenched — another lesson Rock ’n’ Rail Fest organizers have learned. Neither were festivalgoers on top of each other trying to enjoy themselves.
And enjoying themselves they had, Ryfa said. Friday night, Ronnie G and his band rocked the house, followed by the trippy stylings of Mr Funnyman and its hourlong Pink Floyd tribute. Saturday evening saw some country and Santana tribute music, but Sunday would be the day for big-band aficionados.
“(Sinatra tribute singer) Jim Bulanda is going to perform with the Calumet Ridge Ensemble, a 17-piece band,” Ryfa said. “It’s going to be fantastic.”
Jim Qunell, of Munster, agreed. He, wife Dana, and friends Bobby and Renee Hill rode their bikes from Munster to attend.
“Bobby’s an old friend, so we came out here to enjoy and support the Griffith people,” Qunell said. “It’s been great.”
Rock ’n’ Rail Fest reopens at noon Sunday and runs until midnight.
As the storm passed, visitors to Griffith’s annual Rock ’n’ Rails street festival came back out from under the tents.