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Posts Tagged ‘Home County Folk Festival

And now for something different.

- December 8th, 2010

that_john, filling in for Dan, on vacation…

As many of you may know, I am an unabashed music follower.

Music is a thread through my life having brothers in bands as long as I can remember. It’s as much a part of my identity as hockey and making smart-alecy comments.

Yes. That much a part of me!

So, in the last few years I have made a conscious effort to repay all the joy I have gotten from music through volunteering in the arts community whenever I can.

I volunteer at The Aeolian Hall working at the shows they put on there and creating posters for their events. I also sit on the music committee that helps decide on, and promote shows at the venue. It is great fun and gives me a real sense of giving back to music some of what I have gotten from it.

I’m also the Assitant, Artistic Director for Home County Folk Festival. It is another volunteer position that gives me a sense of making an event that I have long attended and enjoyed, a viable and sustainable entity by donating my sweat-equity. Last year I designed the program for the festival, and the year before I shuttled sound equipment and artists about as need be.

This past September I volunteered with the LOLA Music and Arts Festival as a festival photographer, documenting the weekend long event.

In the case of The Aeolian Hall and Home County, I have volunteered for about three years and have grown my involvement over that time. In the case of LOLA, last year was my first. I have met some amazing people that feel just the same about giving back, and I feel that culture is now engrained in who I am.

I hope that people get that sense from me sharing about the experience.

I also have found that in the people that organize and run each of these, are some of the most forward thinking, open-minded and community loving folks there are in London.

So, what I am wondering is, do you volunteer in London? And if so, who with and what is it that you enjoy about it, and what brought you to that organization?

And if you don’t yet, who do you think you might like volunteer for?

It’s really one of the most soul rewarding things you can do!

Fair attendance slumps

- September 23rd, 2010

There’s a story on lfpress.com today about how attendance at the Western Fair was down sharply this year.

Only 178,110 people attended, compared to 217,987 last year and 277,010 in 2000.

In fact, the numbers have been declining steadily over the last decade.

Fair bosses admit something must be done, but they don’t seem to be aware that the foofaraw over admission for handicapped folks may have hurt their event. All that negative publicity must have had an impact. It’s also not clear if they’re contemplating cutting prices.

I have an idea.

Forget cutting admission. Why not make the fair free? Why not stop charging for admission and let folks park for nothing?

Before you reject the idea out of hand, consider this: Free works for downtown festivals like Home County and Sunfest, so why not apply the same model to the Western Fair? If it can work in Victoria Park, why not at the fairgrounds?

They can still charge for midway rides and such, but why not make admission and parking free of charge?

The Fair brain trust is going to have to make some kind of drastic change — and soon. If they continue as in the past, it won’t be long before the Fair goes out of business.

Guest blogger: that_john

- July 15th, 2010

As he boasted before on the blog, that_john is a volunteer for this weekend’s edition of Home County.

Here he is to tell you about the fest himself . . .

This weekend one of my favourite things about London happens: The Home County Folk Festival.

London has no shortage of weekend festivals that happen in or around the downtown core. In fact it was one of the first things that attracted my wife and I to choose London as the place to take root in here after our university years were completed in Windsor.

We’re not lifelong Londoners but when my family were relocated here the year I went away to university we grew to love the Forest City pretty quickly when we summered here with my family during school break. It was that combination of a city that acted more like a town (we’re from small southwestern Ontario towns), along with the great summer festivals that got us: hook, line and sinker!

The Home County Folk Festival in particular has been part of our summers pretty much every year since those years back around 1992 in university and since. We’re amazed at the calibre of talent that is brought in as well as the transformation of the park itself into a self-contained mini-tent city.

And the most amazing thing about the festival me is that it is FREE. It costs nothing to attend, and you’re welcome — even encouraged — to see and participate in as much as you want. It’s staggering to think about when you start to guess what it must cost to get the musicians to perform. And then you realize that is only one fraction of the cost to host such a festival.

And that was the reason last year I chose to volunteer, and the reason this year I stepped up my involvement. This festival would not happen if it weren’t for the two hundred plus volunteers that donate sweat equity every year to pull it off.

Home County is obviously my favourite Festival in London, I am sure everyone can make a case for theirs. But, I really think it is important that if we want to keep those things we really love going strong every year in London, that we all chip in. Volunteer if you can. And if you can’t volunteer, then when you’re out at the park and you see that jar get passed around be sure to donate.

I think you will find like I have, how great it feels to know you’re part of keeping the great things we have here in London, going!

I know a number of you are great fans of Home County, so I hope you enjoy the weekend.

The weather looks like it will co-operate — I look forward to your Weekend reports on Monday!

Best fest?

- July 9th, 2010

This post is in response to a comment from blog reader kmcmillan21, below.

Of the approaching weekend, she writes:

Planning on going to my sister’s house-warming bbq and to Sunfest with the family and some friends! By the way- Sunfest is the best summer festival in London in my opinion- I love it!

So the gauntlet has officially been thrown down!

As I’ve blogged before, M’Lady and I are Ribfest people. It is the one festival we attend every year without fail. I love the ribs and I enjoy the crowds, it’s attracts a different kinda crowd because the whole point is to eat.

I’m not saying it’s perfect — for example, the music isn’t the greatest. But if your goal is to sample the best ribs around, it achieves its goals. The main complaint seems to be that it’s expensive.

To me, the fact that you have to pay means it keeps away the triflers and rubby-dubs. That’s a good thing.

I know there are a lot of Sunfest fans out there, so I’d love to hear from you. I also invite Home County defenders and others to weigh in.

Let’s get this discussion started!