There’s something really special about a festival, isn’t there?
Academics call it a “time out of time,” where social norms are subject to interpretation. You’re free to be a little louder, stay out a little later, dress a little wilder, kick up your heels, and enjoy life. Festivals act as pressure valves for society, providing a little release from day-to-day obligations.
Applause, please, for those behind the scenes
Festival-goers obviously love festivals, but the organizers? They really gotta love 'em.
It’s no small feat to pull together myriad puzzle pieces - infrastructure, talent, promotion, ticketing, public safety, port-a-potties - into one seamless and concentrated experience.
Plank has worked on the digital side of festivals for a long time. Our work with the Fantasia Film Festival, Culture Days, evenko, Osheaga, Île Soniq, and Heavy Montréal has enabled festival organizers to provide fans with up-to-the-minute information, and to keep track of the many elements and events that make a festival fantastic.
A labour of love
I personally caught the festival bug early. The buzz, the crowds, that “time out of time” feeling that this is not just another day in the life.
Through the years, I’ve been behind the scenes of quite a few festivals in my native Newfoundland. I cut my teeth as a teenager with the scrappy (and now sadly defunct) Peace-a-Chord music and social justice festival. Later, working as a venue/box office manager, I ushered countless festivals through the doors of the LSPU Hall. Big and small - like the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, the weird and wacky International Sound Symposium, high school drama festivals and film festivals galore.
I love the excitement of opening nights and closing parties, of diving into an onslaught of performances, workshops, exhibitions, you name it. My latest festival experience was with the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, where I spent two years running an outdoor music festival in Canada’s windiest, wettest city of St. John’s.
Shiny happy (and tired) festival organizers.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of shutting down an outdoor concert because of torrential wind and rain, moving the show into a last-minute alternate venue in a tiny downtown bar, dealing with the disappointed ticket-holders who couldn’t fit into that venue, dancing all night anyway, and getting up three hours later to do it all again.
Ok, that’s a pretty specific example, but I’m guessing other festival organizers can relate, and offer up their own crazy tales.
All this to say - I’m thrilled on a personal level that we’re able to offer a helping hand to what I know to be a pretty special breed of people.
Festival organizers, we salute you! And we’re here to help.
Feature image of Osheaga (on a beautiful thank-goodness-it's-not-raining-day) by Susan Moss