Fountain finale is Saturday

The Musical Fountain's season will be ending a couple of weeks earlier this year.
Tribune Staff
Sep 6, 2013

The last performance for the season is at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

The season is ending early due to necessary upgrades to the fountain's operating system, as part of the continuing scheduled improvements.

The fountain's season typically runs through the end of September, but only on Fridays and Saturdays after Labor Day.

Comments

just-a-guy

I wonder what "necessary upgrades" are so time sensitive that they couldn't have waited another week? Till after the Salmon Fest next weekend. It would have been nice for all the visitors to be able to see the Fountain and it's new upgrades. I guess those in charge have a different view.

christopher

This is very disappointing. After the community came together to fund improvements to the fountain there seems to be a lack of transparency. How come all summer we have been told that the fountain would run through September and then now, three days before it the abrupt ending is set we are notified "change your plans" we are calling it quits.

Will the fountain even be back next year or will there be another "set of upgrades"? I love the fountain, but I am loosing faith in the way it is being managed at this point.

Please at least tell us what is so urgent.

Shouldn't the taxpayers and donors be allowed to either count on the schedule or be given details about what has happened to cause such an abrupt ending. The current schedule (or something very close to it has been in place for years and years). Why can this just be delayed for a bit.

I agree with @just-a-guy, it is amazing that they will not allow festival visitors to see the fountain (as well as ArtWalk visitors in coming weeks).

Tchambers

Last I heard it was being shut down after NEXT Saturday the 14th's show. The operator said they are installing a brand new control system donated free and clear by Rockwell Automation which he said would normally cost nearly $20k and playback system which requires a total rewire of the valve electronics. He also said the reason they are shutting it down early is so they can complete the upgrade before the freeze so it can be tested and ensured working before next spring.

I have a feeling this is for the better. Talking with the operators over the years I have learned that the original controls are aging and getting very buggy causing glitches in the shows and many functions not to work properly. Did you know that the 'swaying' water formations can do more than just sway? They used to be able to pulse, wiggle, do a wave motion, and run at many more speeds. All of these functions were made inoperable nearly a decade ago by the playback software rewrite. Hopefully we will see these functions come back with the newest software and control upgrades. I have been involved with the fountain before they were deleted and you will be amazed at what the fountain could actually do before they switched to a half-baked playback software and choreographer that severely limited the original capabilities of the fountain. I left after they (the people who wrote the playback and choreograph software, and ironically installed the new lighting) severely crippled the fountain as they have a my-way-or-the-highway attitude and do not listen to others opinions or suggestions.

After the old group of volunteers, including myself, left, the fountain quickly fell into disrepair. The musical fountain committee fell apart and for the next several years it would not have a functioning committee. During this time, there were two volunteers who have been pouring their heart and soul into the fountain to fight the good fight. They are focusing their efforts on bringing back all of the functionality that the fountain once had, which was purposely deleted in the choreograph software. I also know for a fact that during the summer they volunteer many hours per week fixing broken nozzles or valves and other problems that arise just to keep the show running every night.

Thankfully there are three or four people I know of, including the two mentioned directly above who are still fighting the massive war to get the fountain back to operating at its full potential. Sometimes I think they are fighting a losing battle.

Lets just pray that they are able to bring back all the good stuff and don't limit it even further!

WWJD

The fountain insiders spend too much time obsessing over the mechanics at the expense of the programming.

Tchambers

You obviously have not seen the fountain this year. I have seen many new songs and actually recently got a list from the guy in charge of programming this year of the new or reprogrammed songs for 2013.

They are as follows:
Shakira - Waka Waka
Carly Rea Jepson - Call Me Maybe
Disney - Reflections of Earth
Lulu and the Lampshades - Cups (When I'm Gone)
Buddy Guy - Skin Deep
Jimmy Buffett - Jolly Mon Sing
Jimmy Buffett - Another Saturday Night
The Doors - People Are Strange
Matthew West - Hello My Name Is
Plumb - Drifting
PSY - Gangnam Style
Ellie Goulding - Figure 8
Madeon - Finale
Benny Benassi - Cinema (Skrillex Remix)
Ryan Moran - Butterfly
Billy Bragg and Wilco - Secret of the Sea
Shaun Baker ft. Maloy - Give
Jason Aldean - Big Green Tractor
Owl City - Fireflies
Capitol Kings - You'll Never Be Alone
Trans Siberian Orchestra - Winter Palace
Zachary Brown Band - Jump Right In

And there are more, and these are only the new or reprogrammed songs for the 2013 season. Seems like a pretty good list to me!

With the current cumbersome choreograph software it takes anywhere from 8 to 30 hours to program a single song. Also, i have been told the fountain currently gets all of its songs from the public so instead of complaining you could always make your own programs and I am sure they will play them. Some of the new stuff I have saw this year is simply stunning choreograph wise.

Edit: I looked up the web address to program your own songs and it is here: www.ghmfsoftware.com

SignalMaintainer

First, the last day of the fountain this year is Saturday the 14th, not this Saturday.

Here are a few that are currently in production for playing next season:

Pink - Try
M83 - Midnight City
Swedish House Mafia - Heart Is King/Save The World (Knife Party Remix)
Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child
Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
Steely Dan - Barrytown
Rod Stewart - Rhythm of My Heart
Jackson 5 - Rockin Robin
Hans Zimmer - I Just Can't Wait to be King
Hans Zimmer - Wheel of Fortune
Dominique Fraissard - Art of a Common Kind
Bruce Hornsby - Mandolin Rain
Brooks and Dunn - Red Dirt Road
Brad Paisley - American Saturday Night

There may be more if I get time or we get outside submissions. Our goal is to replace (we will still play the older programs) the entire library to freshen it up. It is an immensely time consuming process to program new songs. Luckily we are now starting to get some excellent submissions from the outside public and are quickly building the library.

Additionally, this winter, ALL the audio files are being replaced with clean, uncompressed or altered versions to greatly increase the quality of the sound. You may have noticed improvements with some songs already. The quality-control process for the audio files is much better now (previously people would even accept a song that was recorded from a radio with a cell phone; the state of the audio files was in shambles). Also a 0.45 second delay is being added to the lighting and valves to make sure the music and lighting matches up EXACTLY as the programmer intended since it takes the sound 0.45 seconds to travel from the loudspeakers to the waterfront stadium. There are a few very intricate programs with this delay added and it looks amazing from the stadium. You wouldn't think it would matter, but the improvement is very noticeable.

christopher

This is GREAT news. It is too bad that the Trib seems to have got it wrong. Thanks for the clarification. It is still very disappointing that the full schedule was not maintained, but a week's notice is MUCH better than two days notice.

castthefirststone

thank god, now we can get back to watching paint dry and snow and ice melt, much better use of wasted time, b o r e i n g. . . . .

LessThanAmused

Irony isn't something you understand is it?

WWJD

Boreing? Come again? Not familiar with that word.

rukidding

Really, a poster on this site for 2 days and you are focused on spelling errors; maybe you should go back to anonymity...

Lanivan

Many thanks to the Musical Fountain Team for their great programming and technical updates. Watched the Fountain many times this summer, often with guests, and it was wonderful to see people of all ages dancing, clapping, singing, doing the 'YMCA' hand motions, and even standing and cheering!

What good work you are doing for the community, and it is appreciated!

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