Bluesfest Spotlight: Questioning the Volunteers

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Liz Hildebrandt

Photos by Andre Gagne

In the second of Ottawa Life Magazine’s spotlight on RBC Bluesfest volunteers, we learn about some of the strangest questions posed to Info Booth.

You may have seen giant question marks floating above the crowds or roaming about the RBC Bluesfest grounds over the last few days. No, these signs are not clutched by perplexed volunteers seeking answers but belong to Info Booth, the festival’s nearly one-stop shop for anything you may need to know. Well, almost anything.  

Liz Hildebrandt has been the booth’s Area Leader for years now. You can usually find her in the tent near one of the gates offering advice and supplying her volunteers with much needed gummie bears. Her frizzy hair, like those question mark signs her team carries, stands out in the distance.

While people frequently visit the booth to pick up programs of the day’s shows, there they can also find welcoming advice to common questions like: “Where are the washrooms?”, “Where can I find something I lost?” and “Can I bring a goat through this gate?”

Ok, maybe that last one isn’t the usual quandary. Liz and her crew have had their share of bizarre questions over the years. We asked Info Booth volunteers past and present to share some of their Top 10 favorites:

What is the meaning of life?

Why don’t you have helicopter rides so I can get from stage to stage?

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Can you get me backstage?

Why is the sky blue?

Is there a place here where I can buy a good disguise?

How much beer can I drink in an hour?

What is my dog’s name?

Are you there God, it’s me Margaret?

Are you working for The Riddler?

Obviously, the answers are:
42, the landing pad hasn’t arrived yet, African or European, no, because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light, not unless you count a lot of beads as a good disguise, not much before you’re cut off, Hank, sure Margy, and yes, Batman says hello.

In all seriousness, the next time you see Liz and her team give them some thanks as this crew is out there rain or shine to make sure you know where you’re going. Without Info Booth you could very well be wandering aimlessly searching for food, your favorite band or a proper place for your goat.