Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


West Coast Blues Downtown Shuffle ~ Goderich 
New Name ~ Same Great Music!
THE INSIDE SCOOP” is pleased to continue the share the “Scoop” with the West Coast Blues (aka WCB) from the committee chair, Mr. John Harrison. I have had the pleasure of several conversations with both John and colleague, Don Hubick, who both are very passionate about the “Blues” and their Community!
The name change says it all … West Coast Blues Downtown Shuffle … change can be very positive! Visitors travel from as far away as Michigan and New York State, folks from eastern and central Ontario, along with many Southwestern folks make the trip to the Port of Goderich to welcome this Blues Festival … “The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues”. From talking with both committee chair, Mr. John Harrison and colleague, Don Hubick, I learned that they plan about 8 months in advance of the Festival. I’m sure though with the 10th Anniversary coming in 2015, plans are well under way. As many of you know, visiting a festival or event over a period of time can become less exciting. It is up to the organizers and leaders in the industry to “keep things fresh” for both patrons and vendors alike. With families being cautious about their disposable income these days, they are becoming savvier about finding the best value for their hard earned dollars. I asked John about what they do to “keep things fresh”. I have mentioned the name change, but John shares with us that … “We only have one food vendor for the Saturday night Main Stage Event. We bring in only the best in Canadian talent and stay true to the blues, featuring Juno and Maple Blues winners”. The community supports the endeavors by being aware of this great Festival and knows the audience …
For every Festival and Event, STAYING ORGANIZED is critical for success! Mr. Harrison, Committee Chair for the West Coast Blues Downtown Shuffle tells us … “A system to help stay organized - we have a template developed that includes a comprehensive to do list, step by step with contact info, timelines etc and use the same suppliers each year, It becomes the same festival with different performers contracted for each year”.
While having “Systems” in place is a great start, inevitably Challenges will arise.  – Here the “Scoop” shares with you John Harrison’s thoughts about some of the Challenges … “There are so many festivals across the province, it gets hard to remain competitive. There are only so many tourist dollars available and patrons have so many choices with the large number of festivals, some that are Free due to large corporate sponsorships”.
“We have actually lowered our ticket prices to remain competitive, while costs have steadily escalated. We work hard at attracting new sponsorships. Being a not for profit organization is also a competitive edge for getting the best prices on fixed expenses and for attracting sponsorships and keeping the community involved”.
“It becomes the community's Blues Festival. We always ensure that our community knows where profits have been reinvested back into our community”.
Next “Scoop” we will talk about “Techniques in Managing Volunteers, The Joy of Funding & Sponsorship; sharing the “Scoop” from the West Coast Blues Downtown Shuffle experiences. In the meantime, you can check out their website at http://www.westcoastblues.ca/Welcome.html .

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