This week’s Hockeyfest / Hockey fiasco has been an interesting one. I’m continually surprised by the municipal involvement — or rather and critically for some the lack thereof — in how this event was being organized and ultimately how it fell apart.
“And, with Brantford’s reputation at stake, why did Friel and the city not pull out all stops to make sure Brantford avoided this black eye once concerns were identified? Instead of moving to cancel the festival, all organizations involved could surely have worked to pull off the event.
Some might ask what the big deal about all of this is. Hockeyfest is only a music festival, after all. Well, folks, this is a big deal – a really big deal.
Hockeyfest represented something more than a concert, it represented something more to a city trying to rebrand itself and present a new, 21st century image to the wider world. For two years, the festival showed we might just be able to compete with any community when it comes to staging a major cultural and entertainment event. Its cancellation this year proves we obviously can’t.”
Taking that logic to its extreme, that would then mean that as a promoter or events organizer, I could refuse to work with the city’s own staff (due to disliking an earlier council decision), do things all by my lonesome but then not really have to worry since the city would bail my ass out when I start having problems because of a related reputational issue?
private, for-profit organization (Ralph Spoltore told me the company is a non-profit on June 27), does the host municipality hold any responsibility in helping my event be successful? Particularly when I deliberately choose to hold that event in a non-municipal venue? I struggle with the reputational side of the argument as well. When someone not associated with you does something that has a negative impact on your reputation, are you supposed to do everything in your power to correct that person’s decisions? Or should you focus on buttressing and firewalling your involvement?
Hosting an event in Brantford as a
for-profit, private company should not be a free ride to tap into the city’s organizational, financial and human resources when you start to miss critical deadlines. I also don’t believe it’s incumbent upon the municipality to be monitoring your progress on those deadlines to make sure you don’t miss them. Isn’t the for-profit, private company mantra in dealing with governments “get out of my way” as opposed to “make sure I do my job?”
Friel ideally shouldn’t have been involved at all, but he was called into / attended the May 25 meeting and then was liaising between various people and Ralph Spoltore. The history of this event and its previously closer ties — physically and operationally — to the street hockey festival, perhaps clouds the issue on where the line between Hockeyfest and the Corporation of the City of Brantford should have been.
I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest the city should have been as involved as it was— if it’s out there, I’d gladly consider it.
There will be another successful music festival in Brantford is someone out there wants to make it happen and is better organized than this particular person was in this particular year. Saying because this one failed no one else will is simply defeatist and rather quite absurd.