1-800-SWEEPER Blog

Cleaning Up After Kid Rock

Nov 26, 2019

Cleaning Up After Kid Rock

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When Jason Lucht at Progressive Sweeping in Toledo, Ohio first got the call to look at quoting the cleanup efforts after a Kid Rock concert, there was much enthusiasm for the project. After all, Kid Rock hails from “just up the road” in Detroit, Michigan.

Kid Rock’s show was the headlining event of Bash on the Bay — a full-day event organized for the third time on Put-In-Bay, arguably Ohio’s most popular island. Past Bash on the Bay events had featured Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith. The August 2019 five-act show featuring Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker was being described by the concert promoters as the biggest concert in the history of the island with more than 15,000 people expected to attend.

Oh, and the concert was being staged on the tarmac of the island’s only airport which had to be ready for operations to resume by 8:30 a.m. the morning after the concert.

First Concert

Because in the past, event cleanup had been spotty and delayed the re-opening of the airport, concert promoters were looking to step up the commitment to bring the area back to working order in a timely way. Progressive Sweeping has been a power sweeping fixture in the Toledo and Detroit markets since 1980. Experienced as they were at sweeping following outdoor fairs and other events, however, they had never been called in to clean up after a rock concert.

The concert was being held on the airport’s grassy areas in and around the tarmac. Electricity had to be routed to the area and all 40 tons of staging, portable toilets, fencing, vending and food services trucks would be staged and in place prior to the start of the concert. To facilitate cleanup, all would be removed immediately following the end of the headlining show according to the promoters.

People or Trucks?

Although past cleanup efforts had relied on a large labor force, Jason thought that instead of 15 to 20 laborers using hand blowers and hand pick up equipment, they could utilize a broom on the front of a bobcat to move much of the anticipated trash following the concert. Like all good logistics managers, the ProSweep team realized that not only did they need to be sure they had a mechanic and backup equipment in case things broke down during the cleanup, they also needed to have Plan B in place. The alternative plan to using traditional vacuum sweeper trucks which would be deployed for cleaning the tarmac, was to rent several huge industrial blowers and hand pushed vacuum sweepers.

Ferry on. Ferry off.

As the airport location was reviewed on their initial site visit to prepare a quote, the logistics of bringing their trucks, crew, lighting (the airport operates without outdoor lighting) by ferry before the event started was hurdle number one in what was to become a high hurdles relay event.

The night of the show, Miller Ferry Lines would be running overnight to get concert goers and equipment off the island. The Miller Ferry was also the only way to get all necessary equipment to the island so it could be staged and ready to go for the night of the show including two dozen semi-trucks, dozens of tour buses, food trucks and beverage trucks, delivered to the island by the Miller Ferry.

Day of the Concert

To be prepared, the team wound up bringing 4 trucks, 2 sweeper vehicles, industrial strength leaf blowers, backpack blowers and hand-push vacuums. In addition, a team of 9 workers under the supervision of Stacy and Isaac, was deployed to the island by ferry and arrived by 6:00 pm.

With the Put-In-Bay Airport closed to all flight traffic, the event began at 3:30 p.m., with the David Shelby Band. Hotels and campsites had been booked to capacity for months and still, day of the show tickets were being sold for the event. In the end, over 17,000 people would arrive at the airport to be part of the scene.

Because an area of the venue had been sold as BYOS – Bring Your Own Seat – folding chairs were brought by the thousands for concertgoers in section B, with all other sections standing room only. This became an interesting footnote to the cleanup effort.

The Concert Ends

The headlining event ended at about 10:00 PM. because of the crowds, efforts to begin breaking down the stage were delayed until almost midnight. By this time winds on the island had picked up significantly. Facing a total disaster on the runway and grassy areas which had held concert goers, the crew couldn’t get trucks to the area occupied by the stage and had to adjust their plan of attack.

Staff managers Isaac and Stacy, realizing that they had to be finished by 5:00 AM called an audible and began directing their crews to collect the largest items which had been left behind as people moved to exit the venue. Hundreds of abandoned folding chairs, bottles full of water, beer and other substances along with coolers full of food and beverages had to be moved to a centralized location.

A small sample of hundreds of abandoned lawn chairs.

A small sample of hundreds of abandoned lawn chairs.

Overflowing trash bags were collected and staged at intervals for collection. A dump truck came around and picked up fully loaded trash bags to move them to a centralized area over the course of the next 4 hours.

Because of high winds that persisted throughout the cleanup effort, the blowers were ineffective at cleaning the grassy areas. In the end, moving the portable light poles, section by section of the grassy areas had to be hand-picked with workers literally on hands and knees at times.

The Aftermath

All the best planning for auxiliary equipment and a stand-by mechanic to service any equipment failures was not unappreciated by the concert promoter and airport. Unlike a park or fairground, the airport needed to be shipshape and ready to receive traffic the next morning. Mission accomplished, well within the timeframe given, the ProSweep crew boarded the ferry Friday morning at 7:00 AM to return to home base. Jason and his team look forward to another opportunity, should it come up, to clean the area following Bash on the Bay 2020.