‘Buzz’ key

The Fort Frances Folk Festival is set to go this Sunday at the Little Beaver Cultural Centre but there has been a decided lack of “buzz” in the days and weeks leading up to it.
True, the folk festival is only in its second year and organizers are still learning the ropes. But if it is to blossom into a major annual event here, the key is cementing a solid reputation for quality and a “must-see” atmosphere right from the get-go.
A big part of that, of course, hinges on how well the festival is promoted locally and farther afield—from the musicians who are performing to where tickets are available. That has to start occurring months in advance, and certainly cannot rely on “word of mouth” alone.
It sure appears that the visiting musicians are eager to play here Sunday. Sheldon Birnie, a member of “Cheering for the Bad Guy,” said he’s looking forward to camping, fishing, and “playing our tunes to some folks who may never have heard them before.” Ian McAmmond, of “Johnny Riverboat,” lauded the “strong sense of community” that smaller festivals have compared to their larger counterparts.
What’s needed is for a big crowd to justify that pre-festival excitement and, in turn, entice the musicians to return again next year, with hopefully even more in tow.
A folk festival may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then again neither are fishing tournaments. A vibrant community, however, is one that offers events which not only appeal to a wide variety of interests, but also serve to put it “on the map.”
There’s no reason why the Fort Frances Folk Festival can’t become a first-class event that draws people from near and far. The challenge now is creating the “buzz” key to taking it to the next level.


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