Gearing up for the fifth Crossroads Music Fest 

As go-time rapidly approaches for his annual local music throwdown in the Crossroads, harried promoter Bill Sundahl can at least say this: "It's a hell of a lot easier now than it has been."

Which isn't to say that coordinating the 25 bands and six stages of the fifth-annual Crossroads Music Fest — during a recession — is something the baldheaded Sundahl can do in his sleep. But he has been sleeping better than he usually does this time of year. Since 2005, Sundahl has figured out a thing or two about how to throw a fest.

Lessons learned: Don't expect people to show up on a Sunday; don't go to the effort of closing down a street; make sure venues do what they've agreed to do. "It's a full-time job," says Sundahl, who has one of those day-job thingies and currently plays with local bands the Columns and the Afterparty.

The Columns' 8:15 p.m. set of storyteller acoustica at the Brick Saturday night will be Sundahl's temporary respite from darting madly among venues, checking in with volunteers and patrons, and catching what riffs he can from the rest of the night's talent.

See the full schedule of rock, folk, country and bluegrass in Bonus Tracks. And take note of something new.

"This year, we have some hip-hop action," Sundahl says. Last year, he overheard a dude complaining that past CMFs didn't have any hip-hop. He decided to heed the feedback by booking Deep Thinkers and Greg Enemy.

What's not new: Sundahl's eco-consciousness. "We always do a recycling program," he explains. "I feel responsible if I'm the one making this event happen."

After at least one past fest, he dug through a trash bin to separate trash from recyclables because some folks didn't realize that he had provided separate bins for recyclable empties. (It's a hard scene to imagine without his nickname — "Roach" — coming to mind.)

There probably won't be aluminum and glass bins this year, but Sundahl will provide receptacles to collect festival programs and fliers.

Just don't pitch your program until the night's over.

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