HAVING BEEN CREATED to highlight the Trinity River area of downtown Dallas, TrinityFest was all about flow. “Dallas had never in the history of the city done an event this big downtown,” says native son Steve Kemble, who produced the July Fourth event for the City of Dallas. “With a very detailed logistical plan, we were able to show city leaders that we would be able to flow 250,000 persons throughout the event site safely and in an organized manner.”
To get the event started right, Kemble arranged to have free tickets — mandatory for entry — available at local convenience stores before the festival. “By requiring a ticket, we were setting a tone that the event would be controlled and well organized,” Kemble says.
At the entrance to the event, which was staged in an 800,000-square-foot parking lot at the city's Reunion Arena, a two-part security check ensured speed, accuracy and guest comfort. “If a second check was warranted, those few [individuals] were moved to another area nearby that was fenced and covered for privacy,” explains Kemble, who adds that the average wait time for entry was a quick 12 minutes.
Kemble says he maintained crowd flow by placing the Texas antique car show and the main stage featuring country star Randy Travis — the event's two top attractions — on opposite ends of the event site.
To help ease pressure brought on by the additional 50,000 attendees expected to flood in for the event's much anticipated fireworks finale, Kemble worked with the city and the Dallas Fire Department to close two bridges adjacent to the site during the earlier part of the day, then open them to make room for latecomers.
One thing Kemble could never have anticipated: the emergency birth of a healthy baby “right in the middle of the event site.” “All of those routes and methods to get people out, we used for this as well,” adds the producer, who has been invited by the grateful city to stage next year's event. “It was so exciting to see it all come together.”
Steve Kemble Event Design 715 N. Oak Cliff Blvd., Dallas, TX 75208; 214/943-5949