One of the quirks of a festival manager's lot is that the workload is so intense, and your schedule so busy, that the least real thing about your job can be the actual festival. As many times as you do this, and as many years as you find the event itself jumping out at you far sooner than you had expected, the big day always surprises you.
By the time anyone but me reads this, it'll be less than a week before Camden Crawl 2012 lands. I work on this event from the late summer before it, but the toil in earnest really begins around January - and it honestly seems like yesterday since the team started work. To some extent, you just have to hope that in all the chaos and stress of the last five months, we did everything right.
I thought I might list everything that can go wrong - from schedule clashes to programme misprints - but I'd only make my night terrors worse. One good thing about returning to manage the same festival every year is that, along with all the extra grey hairs, you also get a bunch of extra experience. I feel like I know what works. If you've done it all right, what I've written about over the last few months - getting the right bill, managing stress, negotiating with the local authorities - comes into its own on the festival days themselves.
What can seem wilfully obsessive in February - the weekly PR reports, the merciless 'to do' grid, the intricate triple-checking of artist contracts - seems like very good sense indeed by late April. Beyond the last-minute nerves, we're all confident at Crawl HQ that we've done what it takes. In fact, we're extremely proud of this year's event - it feels especially true to our roots as a festival for emerging, excellent talent. We genuinely believe all the next big things will be in NW1 next weekend.
Of course, there's still work to do: finishing up and closing down the guest list, helping promoters and venues prepare for the onslaught of punters, and doing the hard graft of setting up collection points and stages. This is the sort of visible stuff that, if not done properly, will be obvious to everyone - and therefore it needs to be done right. That there has been nine months of invisible work which would be as obvious if poorly done is a secret we festival managers learn to keep.
In fact, what I've most enjoyed about this series of blogs is the opportunity it's given me to share thoughts which very often just stay in my head: rare is it that I talk at length about what have become intuitive things for me. If nothing else, the Huffington Post has proven to be a very inexpensive therapist. I hope you've got as much out of these posts as I have.
In fact, now you know how to do it - put me on the guestlist for your festival, okay?
Follow Lisa Paulon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thecamdencrawl