This year’s salmon festival will be going in a completely different direction than in previous years.
So much so, the Centennial Field stage in Grand Falls-Windsor won’t even be prepared.
There’ll still be plenty of music, but the five-day festival will place focus on offering something for everyone.
There’ll be 28 provincial acts, a comedy act and a kid show, lined up in partnership with Music NL.
But there’ll also be a wing night, family game night, pub crawl, singer song writers circle, white water rafting, an open house at the Salmonid Interpretation Centre, a bike parade and the traditional salmon dinner, amongst other events.
The main musical showcase — Irish Descendants, Mallory Johnson, Earl and Coffin, Rum Ragged and the Chris Feener Band — will be hosted at the arena.
The decision to downsize was a financial one, said Councillor Shawn Feener, who was on hand for the announcement May 13.
The festival had been losing money for some time, and high-end acts were running in excess of $100,000.
“Just to prepare the stage, the cost of the lighting, the cost would have been close to $100,000,” he said. “The last three years we were in the red. It was time to sit back and re-evaluate where we were going.”
The new format, Feener said, is looking to cost the town less than $200,000.
He doesn’t see Salmon Festival getting the same response from people who attended the mega concert days, but feels a smaller, more locally catered event still being successful.
“A lot of these acts are followed by people across the province,” he said. “So we are looking at bringing in people from the east coast and west coast as well, but we are shooting for a central Newfoundland festival.”
Glenda Tulk, executive director for Music NL, is pleased to see Grand Falls-Windsor going back to a true festival format.
She feels it provides Newfoundland and Labrador acts with a great venue outside of the Avalon.
“It’s great exposure, because (acts) don’t get a chance to play these market places very often, hopefully it will mean more bookings and that will work out in other forms of revenue for them,” she said.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.evsalmonfestival.com