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Folsom Live takes months of planning

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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FOLSOM, CA - While thousands come out to Folsom Live every year for a night of dancing in the streets, behind the scenes, there are months of preparation for the event. Mary Ann McAlea, director of the Folsom Tourism Bureau, said there are multiple items that need to be addressed prior to the street party including street closures, safety concerns, band and music planning, shuttle services and community consideration. “Over the years, I have learned that people are generally coming to Folsom Live for the experience, so it’s less about the music and more about the experience,” McAlea said. “Folsom Live is a party atmosphere that allows people to walk around, listen to live music and reconnect with friends and neighbors in a setting that is unique to Folsom.” She said a main factor of the event is to keep it safe and fun for all attending. “For a safe nighttime experience, this is the highlight of the year,” McAlea said. “So when we are handling the planning process we always want to remember those unique aspects about Folsom Live. We don’t necessarily worry about the headliner as much as the full experience provided to the community.” To close down Sutter Street for a night, McAlea said there are many involved in the process including city officials, residents and business owners. “We work in close partnership with the City of Folsom Public Works department and public safety officials,” McAlea said. “We also work with the Folsom Historic District Association to minimize disruption to the daytime businesses on Sutter Street.” She said it is about a three-month planning process to prepare for Folsom Live, which involves regular meetings with those agencies to communicate the best options for the departments and the community. According to Sgt. Jason Browning, Folsom Police Department public information officer, the chamber submits a special-event permit to the city to conduct Folsom Live. He said based on that permit application, the police department recommends police staffing and sets a minimum requirement. “Per the permit application, and based on alcohol permits, the event coordinator is required to set up fencing and/or close streets,” Browning said. “Historically Wool Street at Sutter Street is the only intersection affected by the closure. All of Sutter Street is closed for the event.” He said to maintain a safe atmosphere extra police staffing is required for the event. Mounted Patrol is also used to enforce crowd control and safety. “We ask that everyone respects their neighbor’s right to enjoy themselves,” Browning said. “We hope people party responsibly and plan ahead for rides home after consuming alcohol.” While the street closure is a main concern, chamber staff also needs to find and hire bands to keep the party rocking. This year there will be 15 bands on five stages throughout the night. “We work with a variety of partners in the community to find bands to perform at Folsom Live,” McAlea said. “Folsom Live attendees also tell us what they want to hear through suggestions. We always bring back a fan favorite and add a few new bands to the evening.” Some of the evening’s line-up includes Jack Ingram, Wonderbread 5, East Bay Soul, Journey Unauthorized, Chris Gardner Band, The Atomic Punks, Rhythm Vandals, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Arden Park Roots, Inspector 71 and Maxx Cabello, Jr. The chamber will also host two pre-Folsom Live parties. The first pre-party is at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13, at Toby Keith’s – I Love This Bar & Grill, 440 Palladio Parkway, Folsom. The second pre-party will feature a “battle of the bands” event at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Folsom Hotel Saloon, 703 Sutter St., Folsom. McAlea said the battle of the bands competition is for local bands to compete and win an opening act performance for a Folsom Live stage. Local bands who are interested in competing, should visit folsomlive.com for more information. “People are proud of Folsom Live. Folsom residents like to invite their friends to show off their town and this event,” McAlea said. “For the Folsom Historic District, it is a great way to showcase the revitalized district and show off what’s new and happening here.” All proceeds go to Folsom Live expenses and chamber services throughout the year. For more information on Folsom Live, shuttle services and tickets, visit folsomlive.com. ----- KNOW AND GO What: Folsom Live When: 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22 Where: Sutter Street, Folsom Cost: $25 in advance, $30 at door Tickets: folsomlive.com