Festival 2024 – Know Before You Go

By  GALA Expert 

 July 2, 2024 


Coming to Festival is not an easy thing to do! GALA Choruses is grateful to the 7000 singers who are making the effort to come. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind—Know Before You Go!

A stylized line drawing of a bird made from a treble clef, and staff paper


Where to Start

The first day of concerts is July 10, but some choruses have rehearsals scheduled for the 9th, and GALA staff will be on hand. “A very good place to start” is the Festival “hub” in the lobby of the Minneapolis Convention Center, at the “Main Entrance,” which faces 2nd Avenue. There, you’ll find Delegate Services, where you can pick up your badges (you’ll need those), get information on all Festival events, and place/claim lost & found items. Also in MCC (Minneapolis Convention Center) are the GALA Store, the IKEA lounge (thanks, IKEA!), a photo station, a cinema room, and more. Oh, and the MCC auditorium stage is right there, too.

Your Delegate Badge is your ticket to all performances – make sure you’re wearing it before you go to see your first concert. If you did not receive a badge from your chorus’ Festival Liaison, come by the Delegate Services desk to pick up your badge.


  • From the MSP Airport: all the usual airport ground transportation options are available, including Lyft and Uber.
  • Light Rail is the least expensive way to “get around” town. From the airport, you can get to the Festival Village from the airport via the Blue Line to Nicollet Mall, then take the free bus down Nicolette to Orchestra Hall or the Convention Center.
  • Yes, there is a FREE bus that runs up and down Nicollet Avenue. Those buses are clearly marked with the magic 4-letter ‘F’ word (i.e. ‘Free’ – what did you think?)
  • GALA will be running two golf carts in a continuous loop from Orchestra Hall (Nicollet and 12th St.) and the Convention Center / Central Lutheran (on 3rd Ave.) Please allow people with mobility issues to use these carts – it’s just a 31/2 block (flat) walk between the Convention Center and Orchestra Hall. These carts are not permitted at the hotels.
  • Most of downtown Minneapolis is connected by a system of Skyways, large glass-enclosed bridges that are wheelchair and scooter accessible. It may not be the fastest route, but you can get to where you’re going while staying mobile and dry.
  • See more information on Minneapolis transportation options on the GALA website.

The Festival Village

  • That’s our term for the larger space where Festival takes place, including the performance venues and the hotels in the GALA block.
  • “Village People” can view and download a map of the Festival Village from our website.
  • We will also have fold-out maps with the general Festival schedule available at Delegate Services.

How to Read the Festival Schedule

There is SO much happening “night and day” at Festival. From morning workshops and Coffee Concerts to social gatherings for various groups, from traditional concert blocks to evening BlockBusters, the Festival Schedule is packed.

You’ll probably find it helpful to look at the schedule before you arrive and note which events you’re most interested in. The block schedule is on the GALA website, and you can search for the choruses and events you want to hear by using the Detailed Schedule lower on that page.

  • The block schedule shows the overall time of an event, such as “Ensemble Concerts 1”.
  • Check the Detailed Schedule for your call times within those blocks.
  • The very best way to manage your schedule, though, is with the smartphone app.

The Integra Schedule Mobile App

This free smartphone app is THE way to manage your Festival activities. The app is available through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Search for the Integra Schedule app. Users of older smartphones and Blackberry phones can use a web app version.

  • To use the scheduling features (including putting events on your personal calendar, making notes on particular performances and marking a few of your “favorite things”), simply log in to the app with the same email address and password you used to register in the Integra Planner system.
  • Once you’re logged in, your chorus schedules will automatically be displayed in your personal schedule; that goes for your home chorus and any Festival choruses you may belong to.
  • Events you mark as favorites will also be added to your personal schedule.
  • If you have used the Integra Schedule app for a previous GALA Festival, SisterSingers, Unison, or a GALA Symposium, you will probably need to change the event to Festival 2024 Minneapolis
  • Important: tap the refresh button often to be notified of any schedule changes and to see announcements from the GALA staff. This is especially important to see your call times.
  • Details about the app are, of course, on the GALA website.

Reserved Seating

  • Delegates who purchased reserved seating (with purple badges) may enter the venues 10 minutes before the general admission doors open, through a separate entrance. Ushers will assist.
  • People holding single concert tickets may also enter early through the reserved entrance.

Overflow Seating & Viewing

  • We are obligated to observe posted seating capacity, in keeping with the fire codes. When the venue is filled, it will be closed.
  • There will be overflow spaces where you can watch sold-out concerts on a screen. Check with the ushers.

Accessibility Needs

  • All the stages can be accessed by wheelchairs and scooters.
  • There will be stools and chairs backstage of every venue.
  • There will be a “quiet room” in the Convention Center for people needing to decompress.
  • We have an dedicated Accessibility Coordinator who can be reached by phone.
  • See the GALA website for details and further information about Festival accessibility.

Safety and Security

  • All the properties in the GALA hotel block are aware of the type of Festival we’re having, so feel free to do your “safety dance”.
  • Twin Cities Pride, the 3rd largest in the country, is being held the weekend before Festival. This will give us a good idea of what to watch out for, if anything.
  • We’ve contracted with private security to walk around the Festival Village. Local police are aware of the event and will patrol downtown.
  • COVID is still a concern with any large crowd. See out COVID Policy on the website.
  • Securing your luggage is your responsibility; GALA cannot be responsible for your belongings.
  • Check with the Delegate Services desk for lost and found items.

Code of Conduct

  • Festival is great fun, but responsible adult public behavior and personal accountability are expected.
  • Recreational cannabis is legal in Minnesota, but it is not cool to use it in public, and it is illegal to take it home with you.
  • See the Code of Conduct for specifics.

Festival Food

  • Knowing how tight the performance schedule is, we’ve made arrangements for Food Trucks to be present at Orchestra Hall and at Central Lutheran.
  • Downtown Minneapolis, and especially Nicollet Mall, is chock-full of restaurants, cafes, and pubs.
  • See some of the options Minneapolis has to offer on the GALA website.

Making Festival Eco-Friendly

  • Festival leaves a huge carbon footprint on the host city, and GALA is committed to making it as green as possible, but that means we all must be conscious of the ways we contribute to the destruction of the planet.
  • Use the proper receptacles for trash and recyclable materials.
  • Bring your own water bottle to Festival. There are water refill stations throughout Minneapolis. We’ll have some for sale in the GALA Store. Micro-plastics are now found inside the majority of the population (eeww).

Fear of Missing Out

It’s not humanly possible to see all that Festival has to offer. We run concerts on 3 stages concurrently! But you don’t have to suffer with FOMO if you buy a Festival Streaming Pass. For only $35, not only can you watch any performance live, but then you can take Festival home with you and see the concerts ON DEMAND. Relive your favorite Festival memories, and experience all that you couldn’t cover in the moment. It’s also a great way to share Festival with your friends, family, and chorus members who couldn’t make the trip.

Cashless Festival

The GALA Festival Committee has decided to make Festival 2024 cash-free. 

  • For people who do not have credit or debit cards, we recommend buying pre-paid gift cards to use in the GALA Store; they’re available at most chain stores.
  • We will have a limited number of pre-paid $50 cards available at Delegate Services for people to buy if they only carry cash.
  • We still expect local businesses, including the food trucks in the Festival Village, to handle cash.

COVID Policy

There are over 7,000 GALA Choruses delegates at Festival 2024, and we need to watch out for one another and keep each other safe. Many people in the GALA community fall into high risk groups for COVID, RSV, and other highly contagious respiratory diseases (those breathing-related diseases that are spread by airborne germs between people). But there are easy things we can do to prevent an outbreak here in the Festival Village. We won’t be policing anyone, but in keeping with CDC guidelines with regard to respiratory viruses, we encourage people to act with caution and awareness. Read the full Festival 2024 COVID Policy.