- Hub staff

The board of the Georgian Bay Folk Society held a town hall  meeting Monday to engage the local community and to start a conversation about the direction of Summerfolk. The music and craft festival has been held in Owen Sound since 1976. 

Referencing the Stan Rogers song 45 years , Artistic Director James Keelahan highlighted that Summerfolk needs to ask these questions "so we can see yer smiling face 45 years from now".

There was a lot of positive feedback about what’s great about Summerfolk and what we value - making sure that the community is involved as we adapt to the evolving realities of the social and music world.

Economic sustainability was an important discussion: ie should the festival scale down, or what other partnerships/sponsorships should they seek? How do we get more people to attend if the campgrounds and hotels are full every year? The festival budget is barely enough most years; how do we change that to ensure another 45?

Attendee David Beverly-Foster said lots of interesting ideas of all sorts came up; a craft beer competition during the fest, maybe more workshops, no disposable plates/cups. "It was nice to see the board so interested in input! The conversation is far from over and I'm certain they're interested in hearing from people via email. And I think that city council could use an earful from the community about how important Summerfolk is." High water levels have put a strain on the  city-owned Kelso Beach venue.

Christopher Catley added that some of the conversation also dealt with year-round awareness and greater public exposure outside the community.

The board is opening the doors to let folks know they can get involved in Summerfolk and that their input is both appreciated and necessary. There are also a number of volunteer positions to be filled this year: crew chief, festival coordinator and board positions are open.




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