A concert performance inside a cave takes more than a guitar. If it’s a performance for Bluegrass Underground at Cumberland Caverns, the list of equipment is substantial.
“We’ll use eight cameras, 8,000 feet of fiber optic cable and 4 tons of electrical cable,” said producer Todd Jarrell. “We’ll have a crew of almost 60 people down there when we’re full strength. It’s a beehive.”
Bluegrass Underground will begin filming its fourth season on PBS Friday night at Cumberland Caverns. All three days of concerts are sold out.
A special concert separate from the Bluegrass Underground series will take place Monday night with Widespread Panic. Jarrell said signing Widespread Panic to play was an overwhelming success.
“The concert sold out in less than 30 seconds,” said Jarrell. “Our website was getting 50,000 hits a minute. I think that tells you the kind of excitement that they bring.”
Jarrell said preparations for Widespread Panic, which has been a headline band at Bonnaroo, are not the same as a regular Bluegrass Underground show.
“Everything is a little different when you’re dealing with one of the biggest bands in the country,” said Jarrell.
As for the Bluegrass Underground TV series, the show is coming off four Emmys earlier this year at the Mid South Emmy Awards in Nashville.
Bluegrass Underground received Emmys for best director, best entertainment program, excellence in lighting, and excellence in audio.
The show is directed by James Burton Yockey with Cindy Brewer serving as assistant director.
Lighting director Allen Branton is renowned as one of the best in the entertainment industry, having worked the 2003 Super Bowl halftime show. He’s also done lighting for Britney Spears, The Dixie Chicks, Madonna, MTV and HBO.
In addition to all the production people on hand at Cumberland Caverns, a food service staff also squeezes into the cave. Meals are catered throughout the day.