Monday, November 24, 2014

‘Tour de Fort’ passport sales see good start

While the “Tour de Fort” lineup for the 2013/14 season was announced earlier this year, president Jen Yerxa wants everyone to know passports are still available for the 20th year of the concert series.
“I’m excited,” Yerxa enthused.

“We have a really awesome lineup this season and just going by the preliminary sales that have been happening, I’m hoping that it will be a strong season for us to continue moving forward with great lineups for people,” she added.
Some 155 passports have been sold so far, with the committee hoping to sell at least 150 more.
The Townshend Theatre can hold up to 430 people.
“It’s a really good start,” said past president Ken Avis.
“[But] since we spent so much money last year, we need to sell a lot more,” he stressed.
Passports, which cost $110 each, are available online at tourdefort.com and at 93.1 The Border.
Avis had said this spring that this season’s lineup was one of the best yet.
It will open with Canadian folk/rock artist Bruce Cockburn on Oct. 1.
“It’s huge for this district,” Avis remarked. “As far as I know, in his 40-some odd year career that he’s been playing, I don’t think he [Cockburn] has ever played here.
“[He’s] a great way to start off our season.”
Canadian folk-pop singer-songwriter Rose Cousins then will take to the stage Oct. 20.
“She’s huge,” Avis noted. “She’s winning awards all over the place and is quite large in the States.”
On Nov. 18, the Montreal-based Beatles tribute band, “Day Tripper,” will offer the thrill and excitement of “Beatlemania,” featuring spot-on costumes and vintage instruments for each era.
Jazz singer Jesse Peters will follow on Jan. 9.
“A band out of Alberta that offers up a blues, jazz sort of vocalist,” Avis said of the Jesse Peters trio.
“This guy is incredible,” Avis added. “He’s got an amazing voice.”
Avis’ personal favourite, “Blackie and the Rodeo Kings,” are scheduled to perform here Feb. 2, with the season to wrap up April 6 with Canadian pop/rock artist Barney Bentall.
“Everybody knows [Bentall] from the ’90s,” said Avis, noting his band was called “Legendary Hearts.”
“He’s doing a lot of stuff on his own now.
“So it’s going to be a really great season,” he pledged.
Looking back at his time on the board, Avis admitted “it’s going to be weird leaving.”
“It’s going to be really strange sitting in the audience,” he added. “After seven years, I know I’m going to miss it.
“I’m going to have to work hard to stay out of it,” he laughed.
“[But] it’s time to turn it over to other people, and get some new fresh thoughts and ideas and changes,” Avis reasoned.
“Jen’s been on for a while and she’s our best person to move into that role.”
Yerxa conceded she’s a little nervous about her new role.
“It’s an important responsibility to the arts in the community to maintain ‘Tour de Fort,’” she remarked.
“There have been some rough spots in the past few years,” she added. “We don’t sell out passports on the last show of the previous season like they used to when I was a kid.
“So we have to be coming up with new ideas and thinking of new ways to get people interested and involved with ‘Tour de Fort.’”
Yerxa said the board has talked about a few different community involvement cross-over things it would like to see developed over the next season.
“We’ve also been working on the social media aspect, advertising and getting word out there and building a fan base online,” she noted.
“That’s to help reach the community, as a whole, and bring some younger people to the shows.
“There’s a lot of untapped audience out there that we could be drawing in,” Yerxa stressed.
“We’re looking for ways to captivate the entire community.”

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