Get rid of the big name acts. That was one suggestion at a Summer in the Park information gathering meeting Thursday night in North Bay. It came from Jake Thomas, of Jake and the Fundamentals. Thomas says the big names eat up so much cash plus they plateaued 20 years ago and are just riding the crest. His suggestion is to get up and coming stars from Ontario and Quebec. He says people will be impressed because he’s seen this very thing go on in other communities like Sudbury, Barrie and Perth.
The acts would be free but there would still be a beer garden. Thomas also says if the committee wants a big name act, then work out a 50-50 deal with the Capitol Centre during the long weekend. He says the Capitol Centre is virtually empty that weekend but we have access to thousands of people who are here for the festival There were other suggestions at the information meeting, which was attended by about 20 people. Twenty-five-year-old Jordan Wood said get rid of the name because it suggests nothing. Wood said call it The Bay City and Music Heritage Festival.
He also suggested to revamp the website. Another suggestion came from Maurice Switzer who wanted more events centred around young people because that means parents and grand- parents will go. And Miles Peters, the president of the North Bay Taxpayers Association, said build the festival as a family and reunion event and many people will come. He says he has a daughter in Hollywood, California and a son in Victoria, B.C. who always come home that weekend because they know their friends will also be in town.
Quite a few suggestions came from the arts community which has been involved with the festival sporadically. The committee says it needs someone from the arts to champion this cause to help it deliver something that can be showcased.
During this part of the debate, Summer in the Park committee chair John Strang said the committee will be approaching the artisans and offering a big discount for booths to get more artist co-operation. Another resident suggested a booth with people talking about North Bay’s history and long-time resident Harriet Madigan suggested a temporary skate board facility where young people can show off their talents.