What are they doing to my waterfront festival?

For as long as I can remember, every time we had the chance we’d pack up the family and head out to Pembroke’s waterfront in mid-August to get a halfway decent seat for whichever big name bands were playing. It was the Roadhammers once, Wide Mouth Mason, and there were probably a few others I can’t immediately remember. Often times, nights like that would be followed up by a Sunday afternoon browse through festival grounds to get a look at whatever it is we didn’t get to see on Friday or Saturday.

Sunday wasn’t a concert going day–mind you, that was largely because the performers they got in on Sundays were, well, often times local. And often times not very good. And since we’re talking Pembroke, we know they won’t be inclined to change that. Instead, because Sunday is a low attendance day, the city’s contemplating cancelling Sundays and starting the festival on Thursday instead.

Among the suggestions includes dropping the thinly attended Sunday program of the three-day festival, saving on the expense of hosting it, while concentrating on Thursday evening.

“Pembroke is not a Sunday “let’s go to the festival” community,” she said, as in the past four years the Sunday program never attracted more than 1,500 people, despite having attractions like April Verch, Fred Eaglesmith, Valdy and the Fiddling and Step Dance show.

By having the festival start on Thursday and wrap up Saturday, organizers can take advantage of the college crowd, who like to head out Thursdays to have fun. The large turnout of people to this year’s finale of the Ottawa Valley’s Got Talent contest, held at the waterfront amphitheatre Thursday evening, is testament to that idea.

Prior to the attending of any of the Sunday events, I hadn’t heard of most if not all of those. The only reason I have any interest in fiddling and/or step dancing is because I have a cousin who was, at one time, involved in it–and I don’t think I attended that Sunday on account of having to work anyway. So… um, no, they’re not about to go drawing in huge crowds if you’re roping them in for that. Keep the Sunday program, just… with better material. Maybe stick the talent show over there. I’d listen to that over a reappearance of April.

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