Apprentice 2019 (5) – The Bodacious Blues and Rock Festival

Published on August 6, 2019 by Josef James

Every other month Director Tom Bowden brings the team together to compete in the Footprint Digital Apprentice Challenge. This year the Footprint Digital team has split into two groups: The PowerPuff Girls and The Michael Scanlon Jazz Band Experience. Having completed round onetwo, three and four, the score is all level at 2-2. Feast your eyes on the glorious account of how challenge no:5 went for the teams. To the winners…glory. To the losers… you’re fired!

With The Michael Scanlon Jazz Band Experience having taken the lead twice only to be pinned back by the PowerPuffs, both teams were hungry for victory. For the Jazz Band, it was all about regaining their lead, for the PowerPuffs, managing to take it for the first time! But with this round, came a different mentality, mostly, as a slightly different task met the teams: a repeat of the two-years previous Blues and Rock Festival ordeal.

In its 21 years of running, the festival has supported local charities, its primary function: to raise money towards the Building Malawi foundation, Rotary and St Helena Hospice. Hosted in the luxurious gardens of Sir Tom Bowden’s mother, father and neighbours – the festival is a celebration inclusive of music, food and kind human nature. Our trial was to add to the offering. We were designated spots at the festival to host stands. Their design and function were down to us. The challenge – raise as much as you can, for charity!

Without further ado, the teams got to it, planning their elaborate stands. In a completely open and non-secretive fashion, they devised the design, function and importantly, pricing. Of course, neither team was feeling competitive about this round, it was all about charity, and really, everybody was a winner. There was no real need to keep secrets from each other, try to trick the other team into thinking that they were planning something else. There was no need, because we were one big team doing good for charity.

The PowerPuffs chose a tried and proven method of fundraising: nachos. All in the knowledge that it had taken them to a flawless victory in the previous festival ordeal. There was nothing foolish in this. They set out to improve their efforts from before, with a more elaborate cheese toaster (in the form of a blow torch), bushier moustaches and wider sombreros; because nothing says victory like a stereotype.

The Jazz Band were acutely aware that they would have less workforce on the day due to losing personnel to the stage in the form of announcers or band members. Therefore they decided to go for… a more deceptive approach; in the name of charity. Acting under the guise of a mocktail and cocktail stand – which in hindsight was an excellent idea – they pursued the idea of a Nerf gun shooting range. Here the children of the festival could come and be Rambo for two minutes and compete in a time-bound competition for sweets and prizes. The prizes were kindly donated by Odeon Colchester, Starbucks Colchester and The Entertainer Colchester.

The planning stage over, both teams – united in their mission to raise money for charity, and not beat the other – awaited the day of the festival…

The day arrived, and the crowds poured in. With some members arriving earlier than other, the teams began to set up. As one united front, the PowerPuff girls erected their stand and readied their nachos – by four o’clock they were fully operative. No sooner had they readied, bidding customers made their way and began purchasing.

Until four o’clock, the Jazz Band consisted of one. Thomas Rowson, alongside wood, target cutouts and a series of NERF guns, battled on solo to get the stand operational. His outstanding effort is to be commemorated as he fought on until reinforcements arrived. Almost a full hour after their rivals, I mean counterparts in raising money for charity, had set up – their stand was operational. In a matter of seconds, there was a queue for the firing range.

As the day continued, the merriments were in full flow. The music beautifully bellowed from the stage, the bar filled and emptied rhythmically, and the stands continued to pull in customers. Both performed excellently. The simplicity of hand-delivered nachos had the PowerPuffs performing highly. It wasn’t long before their stocks began to run low until finally, they sold out — an incredible effort by each sombrero donning member.

While the PowerPuffs closed up – the Jazz Band powered on. With a seemingly never-ceasing queue of excited children, and parents, the firing range continued to take a NERF inspired battering well into the rainy evening. The competition was fierce, and when it came to closing time, the winner was decided not by score, but by time. It was so close – and we’d like to congratulate all of the winners!

The stands closing up meant the teams could continue enjoying their day through the festivities that surrounded them. They partied into the night.

All in all, the event raised a fabulous £8,102.76! A top effort by all the parties involved. But, in true apprentice challenge fashion, it comes down to winners and losers – even though we had already decided we were all winners.

In a record-breaking turn of events, it turned out both teams had smashed the amount raised two years previous. The Jazz Band managed to raise a very respectable £142 from their firing range. But, out in the lead were the PowerPuffs with a pretty £168. Together, the teams raised £310! A well fought round, and both sides could be proud of their efforts.

With the scores now sitting at 3-2 to the PowerPuff Girls, it’s down to Micheal Scanlon’s Jazz Band Experience to bring the competition back to the table, bring on round 6!

Haven’t read round onetwo, three or four yet? The competition continues to rage! 

Do you want to work in an environment where you are challenged to compete outside of your comfort zone and are supported to do the best work of your career? Please check out what it is like to work at Footprint Digital and contact us to apply for a role.