As Maryse Messier pulled ropes and raised metal frames last week, she said she was glad it was only drizzling outside.
“This is actually a very nice site,” said Messier."We’ve had to deal with mud and wind and dust flying everywhere in other places.”
Passersby may notice a new structure on the west side of the Golden State (5) Freeway just south of the Burbank Boulevard exit: a 110-foot-tall tent for Cavalia — a traveling equestrian performance show.
Cavalia, which visited Glendale in 2004, combines acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians, riders, and, of course, horses.
Raising the 10-story high tent marks the beginning of nearly a monthlong process to get ready for opening day.
Crews must set-up a kitchen, training stations, warm-up and storage areas before the performers and the horses arrive, Messier, a tent technician for the group, said.
The City Council agreed to waive the $8,944 fee associated with the lease of the city-owned property on Front Street in part because of the extensive marketing that will feature downtown Burbank.
“Cavalia is the first of its kind that’s come to Burbank,” said Economic Development Manager Mary Hamzoian. “They chose this site because Burbank is so centrally located and the hub of transportation that surrounds it.”
The show’s organizers are also in talks with the city to ensure that all low-income families and children have a fair chance to enjoy a free performance.
Cavalia will work with Burbank’s nonprofit organizations, Focus Neighborhood residents and local school children and offer free admission to a community show, as well as an additional performance benefitting Burbank Arts for All Foundation.
“We have special performances just for children,” said Cavalia Artistic Director Normand Latourelle. “It’s the one the artists prefer because it’s so dynamic and the children are so excited.”
Ticketholders will not be allowed to use Metrolink parking across the street and Burbank is requiring Cavalia to set up additional signage directing traffic and protecting pedestrians, officials said.
Burbank and Cavalia will also promote the use of Metrolink and carpooling to the site, as well as a shuttle for overflow parking south of the train station, Hamzoian said.
With a 2,000-person capacity, Cavalia estimates that about 500 cars will need parking for each performance. The show has 574 parking spots available.
Cavalia opens Jan. 19 and shows run six days a week until Feb. 27.