A local musician has requested that Gravenhurst council consider holding the popular Music on the Barge event on Saturday evenings instead of Sunday.
Musician Grant Tingey started off his presentation by saying that he feels “we are underutilizing a gem in Gravenhurst, which is the Barge. If Huntsville or Bracebridge had something like the Barge, they would be bending over backwards to use it, they’d be so happy, because it’s a natural amphitheatre and you get great sound.”
However, Tingey says that by having the event traditionally on Sunday evenings, the opportunity to have more seasonal visitors attend the weekly event is lost. Tingey explained that he “talks to cottagers every day throughout the summer, and the same message keeps coming back, that they are fighting traffic on Sunday night, heading home.”
Tingey said that for the seasonal residents who come up every weekend, “our greatest challenge is, without sounding too crass, is to separate them from their dollars…so we need to give them the opportunity to come into town.” Tingey said it doesn’t matter what type of performance it is, if they knew something was going on on Saturday night, they might go out for dinner or do some shopping beforehand or hit the bar afterwards. “That is a lot more income that they are expending within the town, rather than Sunday night when they are fighting traffic home.”
He pointed out that a lot of cottagers come up on Friday night or even Thursday nights now, and on Saturday nights, people are settled and looking for something to do. But by Sunday they are thinking about the logistics of getting home and not going to Music on the Barge. “That is, if they even knew about it. Half the people I speak to don’t even know about it, which is the other problem.”
Tingey’s solution to the lack of awareness was simple: “Every stinkin’ lake in Muskoka has a Cottage Association on it, send an email to blast out to them…let them know about the Barge concept and that it’s moved to Saturday night so that they don’t have to think about Sunday traffic.”
Tingey also noted that while the new PA system is great, he suggested that a “dedicated sound person would help,” to make sure that the “sound coming off the Barge is consistent, it’s set up properly, it’s taken down properly.”
He finished by saying that “the town would be better served and the majority of people would be better served” by moving it to Saturday nights. Tingey said he loved playing to a local audience, but that is mostly who was attending on Sundays and “it’s not serving the greatest amount of people.”
Mayor Heidi Lorenz thanked Tingey for his presentation and said that council will discuss his proposal. She said that in the new Parks, Recreation and Trails master plan includes expanding the use of the Barge and that there is the possibility of Monday evening concerts, too.
The Music on the Barge concert series is the largest outdoor summer concert series north of Toronto and draws thousands of seasonal and permanent residents to the shores of Gull Lake Rotary Park.
For more information, visit https://www.gravenhurst.ca/
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