COTA Memories

{ Thanks to Paul Adam Smeltz for collecting these memories... - 570-269-3348 }
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by: Paul Adam Smeltz

I attended my first COTA concert way back in 1986. I fell in love with it. However, every year after that, the job I happened to have scheduled me to work the weekend of the festival. I found myself unemployed during 1999 COTA and decided to see if it was good as I remembered it. It was even better. Now I always let my perspective employers know I needed the COTA weekend off or I can’t work for them.

Since then, I’ve been given the opportunity to volunteer as part of COTA Security. This position not only allowed me to serve those attending the festival, but also gave me the chance to meet many of the performers backstage. I love meeting with the people who come to watch, perform, and volunteer at COTA so much that I mark my calendar and plan my whole year around it.

by: Cheryl Read

After having been with COTA for almost 20 years, it is like a family reunion. The best part is Saturday night after all the work is done and a lot of us gather under the big tent behind the stage. There is so much reminiscing about previous festivals it is hard not to feel attached to these people who have put so much work and love into making all this happen.

There are so many facets to keeping this festival running. I do not know anyone who could not help. Even the simplest things are important. I would never have thought I could become so involved and enjoy "working" as hard as we do sometimes. When a lot of people help, the job gets done faster and we have more time to become closer in our "real" lives too. I have several friends that I met through working as a COTA volunteer and I cherish every one of them.
by: Norma and Ron Hart

We were newly retired  in 1992, sitting in the Deer Head Inn on a WEEKNIGHT!!!! Should we stay for the last set?  Why not--we don't have to get up in the morning!!! It was a defining moment, it was REAL, not just a vacation. Susan Bradford, then a board member of COTA, was waiting tables, and we asked her what you had to do to volunteer. We went to the next meeting, and haven't missed many since. It has been  an occasional "pain in the arse," but mostly wonderful fun--especially 2003, when we were honored to receive the "Joanne Mayer Volunteer Award."  Every year we say, "This was the best one yet."
by: Frank DiSalvo

My first encounter with C.O.T.A. was through Ed Joubert, owner of the Bottom of the Fox and one of the founders of this organization. It was a habit of mine to stop at the "Fox" on the way home after working the 4-12 shift. One Friday night, about 25 years ago, as soon as I walked in the door, Ed approached me about helping him with an idea he had to expand the stage.

We did a little brainstorming, and the next day I went into work 4 hours early to make the braces and piping we would need for this project. I’ll never forget the look on his face when I arrived Saturday night and told him everything was done and ready to be installed. I guess I was hooked that night, and I have been trying to help out ever since.

It has always been a philosophy of mine that we should give something of ourselves back to the spirit that keeps us going. I have never meet a finer group of people to work with, and I would not change a thing in the relationship I have with the festival and its people.

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