ELMORE COUNTY - Although the Mountain Home Music Festival is still pretty young, organizers have really ramped it up this year as they expect up to 16,000 people per day.
Months and months of planning have gone into the annual festival, but the grunt work really started just a week before the opening show.
Around 1,600 camp spots were marked and 7,000 feet of fencing were put in on Wednesday. On Saturday, crews ran water to different areas throughout the venues. This year, the festival is officially a "walk around" venue.
"It definitely wasn't a walk around last year," said event director Taelor Dunn. "People had to stay inside the beer gardens, or if they were in VIP we had beer- serving stations inside our VIP area."
There's also a new way to pay for anything from drinks to T-shirts. It's a wristband that you register online and link to your credit card.
"What they do is they take their wristband they go up to a vendor that has their tablet, tap their wristband, enter their pin, then done!" said Taelor.
Of course you can't miss the main attraction: The 124-foot-wide stage with two of the five new LED screens.
"We have a real cool LED triangle that will display all sorts of different information that we have located in the middle of the venue this year," said Operations Manager Mike Dunn.
Over the next few days, crews will continue to build what looks like a small city while organizers hone in on their main priority: safety.
"Dehydration is going to happen, bug bites and bee stings are going to happen," said Taelor. "There's always things that we can't control so we do have our action plans in place to make sure we have policies and procedures."
She says there will be a first-aid tent and paramedics on standby.
Another issue to tackle: underage drinking. Officials with the Elmore County Sheriff's Office will have a command center and will also be roaming the crowds and campsites throughout the festival.
"We really encourage minors to follow the law and follow our rules and don't drink," said Taelor. "We are looking for you."
Mike says they have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to breaking the rules or the law, and they don't hesitate to kick people out.
"People don't think we'll do it, but come Friday morning you'll see five or six campsites packing up and hitting the road," he said.
If you are planning on camping at the venue, Mike says generators are allowed, but any open flames are not. There will be a wildland fire crew at the venue for precaution.
"While the event is going on there's actually more fire safety equipment in the area than there would be if there was no event," he said.
Crews will remain at the venue through Wednesday evening setting up, and will add final touches on Thursday morning. If you haven't bought tickets you can still do so online or at the gate Thursday afternoon.
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