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JazzFest Preparations Underway

July 16, 2014, 6:12 PM by Sammi Bjelland

JazzFest Preparations Underway
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

JazzFest 2014 kicks off tomorrow, and the setup is well under way. We stopped by Yankton Trail Park, to see how the annual music festival comes together.

The sun is shining, tents are rising, and port-a-potties are lining up for this year's JazzFest.

"We believe in the festival. We believe in giving back to the community. We believe in the music. And it's important to us to do this," volunteer, Rico Johnson said. 

Rico Johnson began volunteering for JazzFest setup in 1997. His job today is to help prepare the grounds for other crews setting up booths this week.

"The other people are going to be showing up tomorrow and setting up the interiors of the tents and stuff. We have to do the preliminary work to be ready for them when they show up tomorrow," Johnson said. 

While volunteers are crucial for the free event every year, there are some jobs that are left to trained professionals.

"These gentlemen and ladies are union and they understand all of the important factors of keeping a stage strong and sturdy in wind and weather. So they have to be professionals in order to do that," Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society Executive Director, Rob Joice said. 

With the concerts just a day away now, everyone, paid or not, is needed for the show to go on.

"It's a community group effort to make it happen. We really appreciate the support from everybody, all the other volunteers that come out and help make this a very special event," Johnson said. 

"One thing to keep in mind is that this event is free. And without all of those volunteers, it would be really really hard for us to continue to do that. So, in a sense they're helping to make sure that people can enjoy this concert for free. So I hope they take that pride when they put on their volunteer t-shirt and help us for a few hours," said Joice.

Throughout the weekend, they expect close to 800 volunteers to help out.

JazzFest begins Thursday at 6 p.m.

If you're going to JazzFest, we'd like to hear from you.  We've set up a special section for your pictures.  Send them to ushare@keloland.com or use #kelonews on Social Media.  The page also features this year's line-up and the all important JazzFest forecast.

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