It's strange how just one week after touting an awards victory in communicating that the city sends out a press release with one day's notice for an event held the very next day, but I digress.
Today's announcement is about a Chamber of Commerce sponsored-discussion about local culture, music to be precise. The press release says that the panel discussion - featuring Culture and Tourism General Manager Colleen Clack, Hillside Executive Director Marie Zimmerman, and musician Royal Wood - will be about how the Royal City can "leverage music from an economic, cultural and social perspective." Sounds impressive, but what we have here, I think, is another attempt by the powers that be to tap into a cultural they don't get, and in a real sense only want to pay lip service to.
What makes me say that? A lot of my friends who work in the arts locally, many of whom are doing wonderful, exciting and creative things in their fields, and are managing to do it without a lot of help, input or engagement from the city or local business leaders. In fact, I heard from a reliable source that someone involved with organizing this panel, at the mention of Kazoofest, thought it was a music festival based around actual kazoos. They may have been joking, but Kazoofest is attracting a lot of indie talent from the music, visual and media arts sectors, and is being covered by Toronto-based media, and it's been running for six years. If you want to have a proper conversation about exploiting the local music culture, you should expand your frame of reference beyond Hillside, which, frankly, doesn't need the help.
The full press release from the city is below:
Guelph, On, April 25, 2013 – Tomorrow, April 26, the City of Guelph will participate in a panel discussion on ways Guelph can leverage music from an economic, cultural and social perspective.
The discussion—what music contributes to a community—will take place at River Run Centre during a luncheon hosted by the City of Guelph and Guelph Chamber of Commerce. Graham Henderson, president of Music Canada, will moderate the discussion.
Panel members include:
Tickets to attend the luncheon are $30 and can be purchased in advance through the Guelph Chamber of Commerce’s website at guelphchamber.com.
- Colleen Clack, General Manager, Culture and Tourism, City of Guelph
- David Peacock, CEO, Regional Tourism Organization Four Inc.
- Marie Zimmerman, Executive Director, Hillside Festival
- Royal Wood (performing at River Run in the evening)
Following the luncheon, the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, who is spending Friday in Guelph visiting local schools and touring the CFRU radio station, is expected to make a special announcement about music tourism. Mayor Karen Farbridge and the Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, will be present to comment on this announcement and the impact to the community.
There is no cost to attend the announcement, with doors open to the general public at 1:15 p.m.
Minister Chan’s visit to Guelph is the culmination of several collaborative discussions between local organizations including the City of Guelph, Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Guelph Arts Council, the Downtown Guelph Business Association, and the Hillside Festival.