Gathering Tour will take show on the road
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Shaun Majumder has been putting on quite a show with his annual event The Gathering in Burlington.
Years ago, Shaun Majumder threw his arms open to the people of Burlington and announced he was “coming ‘ome,” and ever since he has worked hard to put his small town on the map.
With that mission fairly effectively accomplished — each year hundreds of people have been coming to The Gathering and furthering Majumder’s “‘Ome” vision through the festival and its corresponding events — the comedian continues to grow and evolve his plan to make Burlington a significant tourism destination on the Baie Verte Peninsula.
In 2013 and 2014, Majumder took his quest to develop this tourism potential to mainstream television on the series Majumder Manor. With thenfiancée Shelby Feener, business partners, and many locals by his side, the show highlighted the good and the bad of his quest to build Majumder Manor and vitalize the local tourism industry.
‘Ome Sweet ‘Ome now includes remote luxury glamping tents and guest pod. The ‘ Ome Fry is a chip van that operates locally during the summer. Thus far, the This Hour has 22 Minutes star and his ventures have indeed provided an economic influx to small businesses in the community.
The evolution of The Gathering and ‘ Ome Sweet ‘ Ome continues — something Majumder accepts by design. If something works, don’t fix it. If something needs fixing or improving, do it.
In 2017, Majumder welcomes the inaugural Gathering Tour. In what is hoped to be the first of many, the festival of fire, food and music is going on the road. Featuring acts from this year’s festival in Burlington from Aug. 24-26, the tour includes stops in St. John’s, Gander, Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.
“The idea behind the tour is eventually, we want to share what we are doing in Burlington with everybody all over the province,” Majumder said. “One of the ways of starting that process is taking the festival we do here in Burlington and bringing it on the road.”
The interest and pre-event ticket sales have been encouraging, according to the comedian. Majumder promises the usual blend of food, music and comedy, and says there will likely be those impromptu guests and spur- of- the- mo- ment surprises his events have become known for intertwined with scheduled lineups.
The fifth annual Gathering will again see a couple of thousand people bring Burlington to its maximum capacity for what has become as much a culinary festival as a display of musical and comedic entertainment.
Majumder says he is happy with the progression of the event and his long-term strategic plan.
“I think it is now one of the most unique festivals on the island, for a few reasons,” he said. “I think the fact that it is not a big festival is a really important piece. I like that it is spread out between music, chefs and comedy because it is a gathering of people who come together, meet new people, and have so much fun.”
Simple and unique
Its simplistic nature is an asset Majumder does not want to lose. While continuing to evolve, it is never expected to be something it is not. The uniqueness of chef hikes and shed crawls will continue to be the staple of the event, according to its creator.
This year’s chef hikes will feature a Latin flavor with chefs Elia Herrera of Toronto and Luis Clavel of Halifax.
Comedians making an ap- pearance will include Nigel Lawrence, Matt Wright, and This Hour has 22 Minutes’ newest cast member, Trent McClellan of Corner Brook.
Chef Jeremy Charles of Raymond’s Restaurant will lead this year’s Brook Picnic. Musician Sherman Downey will be back to lead the Shed Crawl. Another new event this year is the Side Show, which will feature The Once at a secret location to be revealed at the festival.
The main Gathering grounds will again be filled with food, led by head chef Roary MacPherson, and various entertainers. Bud Davidge of Simani will be performing at this year’s festival, and Majumder said “Music and Friends” will be this year’s theme song — and the plan is to create a “We Are the World” version of the song with this year’s musicians.
“We want to keep going on this course, and maybe every year add a new little piece here and there,” Majumder said.
The Gathering Tour is a big step in that evolution. This year, locations will be along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), but Majumder envisions getting deeper into rural areas in the years to come.
“I want to go to the smaller places,” he said. “I want to get off the TCH and go down to tiny places. Where that will be, we don’t know, but we are always taking suggestions as to why we should come to your town.”
This festival and his “elegant version of camping for sissies,” as Majumder likes to call it, could happen in any community throughout the province, he said. His vision of the tour is to open people’s eyes to that.
“It’s about rural sustainability and economic development in an area like this,” he said. “If we can get a model that works, maybe we can consult and bring this model to other communities all over the island so they can take control of their destiny and not have to wait around for government to give money for subsidies for projects and whatnot.”
Just a way for ‘ome to always be ‘ ome for everybody, no matter where that is.
Shaun Majumder leading an excursion during The Gathering 2016 in Burlington.