Despite changes, many long-standing traditions remain
Organizers working through final preparations for Sydney’s summer festival.
The action starts Saturday in Sydney and lasts a full nine days.
The 42nd annual Action Week Festival promises to have events and activities for people of all ages and interests.
It will also mark a major change in direction of where many events have been held in the past — on the boardwalk.
Instead, much of the fun, including six concerts, will take place in Open Hearth Park.
Festival organizer Jeff Clements said it made sense to use the park, with its large grassy field and several locations on site for parking.
“It’s a state-of-the-art facility and it needs to be leveraged and used more,” he said.
“It has everything you need from a recreational standpoint (such as) concessions, multiple ways in and out of the park so traffic congestion will be minimal.”
Clements and Jenna Lee Green took on the roles of volunteer co-chairs of the non-profit Sydney Harbour Front Festival Society earlier this year.
Clements said the committee was required to raise a “substantial” amount of money from local business partnerships in order to have as many events on the schedule.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality, which is one of the festival’s major sponsors, has provided about 50 per cent of the overall budget through inkind and cash contributions, Clements said.
He declined to disclose the amount of money the CBRM has provided the festival committee.
A spokesperson with the municipality wasn’t able to provide the budget details before deadline Thursday.
The Buskers Festival, held in previous years on the Sydney boardwalk, will also be performing in Open Hearth Park from Saturday to Monday.
The festival’s closing night fireworks display will be taking place in the park this year. Clements said the $8,000 expense to rent a barge to launch fire works over the harbour didn’t make financial sense.
The money saved will go into making a longer light show.
“You’ll be able to see the fireworks from the Whitney Pier area and also from the waterfront because we’re shooting them off on an uphill spot in Open Hearth Park.”
The organizers took the area’s youth in to consideration for some of the events.
One example is the scavenger hunt and concert in Open Hearth Park on Wednesday.
The photo clues for the hunt will be sent through the festival’s Instagram account.
And the concert that evening features up-and-coming hip-hop artist Jofo with DJ Majestic. It’ll be hosted by Tracy and Martina, the raunchy comedy duo behind the locally produced Magic Ranch skits.
A battle of the bands contest is slated for downtown venues on Aug. 7. It’ll take on a pub crawl feel as eight bands move from one bar to another.
Patrons can vote for their favourite, and the winning band will be the opening act during the closing concert Aug. 9 at 8 p.m.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Action Week Night Light Parade. It will wind its way through the downtown on Sunday, starting at 9 p.m. It’ll follow a Mardi Gras theme with floats illuminated in green, purple and gold.
A detailed schedule of events is available on the Action Week website at www.actionweek.com.
Action Week Festival organizers Jeff Clements and Jenna Lee Green are working through final preparations for Sydney’s summer festival which begins Saturday. Many of the events, including concerts, the Buskers festival, and closing fireworks display, will take place in Open Hearth Park this year.