At Seasons End
A word from the Director
It’s the beginning of May, and as I write this I am sitting in our office at the Ranger Station reveling in the chilly but gloriously bright and sunny morning. The leaves on the alders outside sparkle as they move in the gentle breeze, and there are tiny ripples on the lake. This spring has been dark and dismal weather-wise, with the odd day offering teasing sunshine, just to return to drizzle the following morning. Today, I am sure, will not be one of those – I am determined the brightness is here to stay.
Whenever the sun comes out, it give us a sense of anticipation here in the office – summer, and therefore the festival, is coming soon. It’s not quite panic – we are professionals after all! – but a healthy nervousness. There is still so much to do before the 2017 edition of our festival kicks into action on July 8. Right about this time, early May, it always feels like somehow we skipped a month or two. It can’t be 2 months away! Aren’t we actually in March? What do you mean we already had Easter? When do we find out about that grant? Are all the tents booked?
When the Season of the Performing Arts wraps up, as it did last Saturday night at the end of Keith Bennett and David Sinclair, there is the feeling that we have untied another dockline, and that the ship of the festival is almost ready to set sail. Before this ship sprouts some rockets and takes off at warp speed, however, there is a brief, calm moment to reflect on the completed season.
This was my fourth season as director (unbelievably). I now know that every season is its own animal, just as the every festival is. As a programmer, I shape the season according to a variety of variables, some of which are beyond my control. Who is on tour this year? Who can I afford? Should I take a chance on that act I love but I know won’t fill the house? This artist has been here 3 times already. Is once more too much? Am I satisfying the mission and mandate?
In the end, after bouncing around these questions and limitations in my head, I prioritize balance and contrast – at some shows you dance, at others you sit and listen, at some you sing along, and at others you experience something that you would never previously have found on your itunes playlist.
This season there were some crowd pleasers, and also some new discoveries for people. Some of the shows sold out, and some did not, which is normal. The familiar music tend to draw more people of course, while the less familiar sometimes takes a little more convincing. We are very much about offering alternatives to what we hear on the radio, and will continue to present new discoveries alongside better known music. The most satisfying thing I have experienced as an AD is introducing a completely new artist and having an audience member come up and express the delight they have in a fresh discovery. We encourage you to aim for such a musical epiphany – it can be really exhilarating!
Photo Cred: Hunter Ramey