In tune

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

W hen it comes to the arts — whether you’re a mu­si­cian, vis­ual artist, theatre ac­tor — the pre­vail­ing wis­dom is big­ger is bet­ter: higher al­bum or ticket sales, the more pres­ti­gious the gallery that hangs your paint­ings, the larger the stage and more prom­i­nent the role.

While that may be the pop­u­lar con­cep­tion, there are many who feel dif­fer­ently and are in­stead com­fort­able with fill­ing the niche they’ve carved out, no mat­ter how small.

Here at home, the Trail, Tales and Tunes Fes­ti­val in Nor­ris Point is pop­u­lar, yes, but or­ga­niz­ers say they have no de­sire to grow the an­nual event to any great ex­cess.

If you’re Bruce Spring­steen or the Rolling Stones, this might seem like a mis­step. But for this prov­ince and this par­tic­u­lar area of it, it’s no mis­take.

As fes­ti­val or­ga­nizer Shirley Mon­tague told the Ro­tary Club of Cor­ner Brook re­cently, don’t ex­pect much of a spec­ta­cle for Trails, Tales and Tunes’ 10th an­niver­sary next month, at least not much be­yond the nor­mal scope of the event.

“There isn’t re­ally any­where else to go,” Mon­tague said, re­fer­ring to the high stan­dards the rel­a­tively small fes­ti­val has main­tained since it first be­gan back in 2006.

In this day of mega-con­certs and megaevents, smaller fes­ti­vals like this one fill a nec­es­sary role when it comes to our en­ter­tain­ment.

We need only to look at Grand Fall­sWind­sor’s Salmon Fes­ti­val to see how things can go awry when or­ga­niz­ers try to go too big, too quickly.

While at­ten­dance fig­ures at a Rod Ste­wart con­cert, say, may be in the strato­sphere when they take place in a larger cen­tre, there are many who don’t care for those crowds or that kind of mu­sic. Those con­certs cer­tainly aren’t driv­ing many at­ten­dees out­side the metropoli­tan ar­eas to place like Nor­ris Point, nor do they sup­port lo­cal artists or the lo­cal economies as fes­ti­vals like Trails, Tales and Tunes can.

And hey — if Ste­wart or Spring­steen want to play Nor­ris Point, the or­ga­niz­ers are fine with that, too — they’ll be paid just the same as any of the other tal­ented artists who ap­pear there. Some “big-name” acts have been known to do this in the past, so “small” doesn’t al­ways mean th­ese events can’t go big.

In the end, events of all sizes are nec­es­sary to en­sure the fes­ti­val-go­ing pub­lic has those op­tions. We just need to sit back and let the or­ga­niz­ers do things the way they feel is best.

If that means a small event in a small town, so be it — it’s the qual­ity of the prod­uct that will keep peo­ple com­ing back and keep it sus­tain­able, just as Trails, Tales and Tunes has.

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