CUMBERLAND — Dozens of musical acts from around the country will pour into the Allegany County Fairgrounds this week to entertain about 30,000 concertgoers at the 10th annual DelFest festival.
And someone has to take care of them.
"We have people on our staff that work with artist tour managers to give (them) a sense of security," said Rebecca Sparks, a spokeswoman for High Sierra Music.
Based in Berkley, California, High Sierra is the independent production company behind DelFest. Each year, representatives from High Sierra, Del McCoury and family and Rainmaker Music Management, McCoury's management team, collaborate on which performers will eventually take the festival stage.
When artists are confirmed and performance fees are negotiated, High Sierra continues to work with each entertainer's booking agent and tour manager to ensure the musician's production requirements, lodging and meals are met during their stay in Cumberland.
"We'll get a stage and a sound system that's good enough for Trey," Sparks said, "and if it's good enough for Trey, it's going to be good enough for any of the other acts on the bill."
The "Trey" Sparks is referring to is Trey Anastasio, frontman of the rock band Phish. He and his Trey Anastasio Band will play two sets at the festival on Friday.
The band, formed in 1999, is touring to promote Anastasio's solo album, "Paper Wheels."
According to Sparks, the Trey Anastasio Band requires the highest level of sound performance, setting the bar for stage requirements at the four-day festival.
"We get a stage and a sound system that can accommodate the biggest requirement," she said. "In this case, it would be Trey that would have the most requirements for production.
"That's the system that we will have for the weekend, and everyone else can play on that stage with that equipment," Sparks said.
Each artist comes with an addendum, or rider, which is attached to the band's standard contract and outlines what the artists will need — everything from lighting to liquor — during a performance.
Sparks said most requests are standard fare for High Sierra management, however, some are more specific and require negotiations.
"Even if they have a lot of requests, it's usually stuff we do anyway," she said, "but sometimes when they have a lot of very specific requests, like organic olive-flavored hummus, that's when we have to say, 'Well, we can do this instead,' and have a back and forth."
In the 1980s, rock band Van Halen was famous for requesting bowls of M&Ms in its dressing room — minus the brown ones.
Sparks said that isn't the case at DelFest.
"You'd be surprised, some of the quote-unquote biggest artists have some of the most basic requests," she said. "And sometimes, the more emerging acts have a lot of requests."
In addition to production standards, High Sierra Music manages all lodging arrangements. Sparks said some musicians choose to stay at local hotels, others prefer to leave after their performance and some will camp.
Artists playing on the Grandstand Stage have a separate trailer or private dressing room to allow for preparation before their performance.
"If they have specific items that we've worked out in advance, we'll put that in the dressing room," Sparks said.
The most common request received from artists is for alcohol.
"A lot of times the special requests just end up being alcohol requests," she said. "Jameson or Bulleit (whiskey)."
While each artist on the Grandstand Stage is assigned an individual trailer where they will "hang out all day," Sparks said musicians set to appear on the smaller Potomac Stage share a general trailer.
All acts are assigned an artist liaison by High Sierra Music to take care of "logistics," Sparks said.
Usually a volunteer, the liason manages tasks for the musician, such as navigating the festival grounds.
"People wonder why tickets cost what they do," Sparks said, "Part of it is there are a lot of accommodations that need to be made. Not just for the artist but for everybody staying there.
"It's a big undertaking."
Follow staff writer Heather Wolford on Twitter @heatherbwolford.