Festival Belongs to the Community

On Sunday, a dozen of the 35 Live From the Rock coordinators, who organized and presented the 2016 festival, gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 226 for a debriefing meeting.

A huge thanks goes out to the legion for all of its support of the festival including providing a meeting place. The coordinators come from all over the Northshore region and are the individuals responsible for the operation and implementation of the festival in all its many facets.

Emily and Laura Foulds, the festival co-chariwomen, reported that the majority of the co-ordinators are back on board for next year. This year saw many brand new co-ordinators take reasonability for areas such as site co-ordinator, volunteers, website, social media and the green team.

It is encouraging for veteran organizers to see a new crop of younger volunteers taking over the helm this year.

Volunteer co-ordinators Melissa (Harvey) and Paul Zanandrea reported 201 volunteers registered and their efforts made this year's festival the success it was.

The Live From the Rock Folk Festival is unique in that it is completely volunteer run. Everyone from the artistic director to the fundraisers, to the stagehands to the writers of the grants, to the bookkeepers, to the shuttle van driver,s to the cooks, the folks who provide billets for the musicians, the setup and tear down crew - everyone is a volunteer. And that is what makes our little grassroots, community festival work.

It is not a financially viable business and cannot be run as such. Without the sponsorship and supports ot he Township of Reck Rock; our local MPP (who this year even allowed us to use the colour photocopier in his office); individuals who make sandwiches and salads. The entire region rallied and pulled together to ensure the future of the festival.

Upon reflection, this situation may not have been all bad, as it has caused the board and festival organization committee to examine the philosophy and priorities of the festival and to return to its roots.

After 14 years, there are many festival goers and residents who don't understand exactly how the festival runs and don't remember it's origins.

The Live From the Rock Blues and Folk Society was started in the mid 1990s by a group of individuals who loved music and who organized and present an annual concert series, house concerts and workshops in Red Rock.

In the year 2000, with plans to present a weekend festival in the works, the group incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation.

As such, Live From the Rock Blues and Folk Society Inc. is governed by the Ontario Corporations Act. Unlike a charitable corporation, a not-for-profit corporation cannot issues tax receipts, and thus the mandatory annual review and audit of the boos is much less onerous.

No individual can profit from any of the business conducted by a not-for-profit corporation and rather than having share holders, a not-for-profit corporation must maintain a membership base, which the board of directors reports to and is held responsible to.

In addition to those who purchase memberships in Live from the Rock Inc., all volunteers are given a free annual membership. Live from the Rock Blues and Folk Society is governed by an elected board of directors who look after the business of of things including the minute books, financial records, etc. are housed at the Red Rock Public library and are accessible to al. Live from the Rock board meetings are open to all members of the public. The annual general AGM takes place each fall and all members are encouraged to attend and are entitled to vote on all motions. Red Rock was host to a memorable Folk Festival this year and this is due to supporters in Thunder Bay and the entire region in addition to hose in Red Rock itself.

While thanking and praising all those who support the festival, there is one group that sometimes gets overlooked Without the loyal audience of festival, goers who come back year after year and pay to attend the Live From the Rock Folk Festival there would be no festival. So, a hearty thanks to the individuals who buy tickets. Volunteers have to sell a lot of raffle tickets, baked goos, and smokies to raise $70 So your purchase is appreciated.

Grassroots community folk festivals don't divide and alienate people - they unite communities. They unite us through a common love of the beauty that surrounds us on the shores of the world's largest lake; bring us together through a common love of music and a sense of achievement and of helping create something special and unique; and inspire us to work together, with friends and neighbours to celebrate community.

So to those of you who are asking if this year's Live From the Rock Folk Festival was a success the answer is "yes, indeed it was!" Stay tuned to the website www.livefromtherockfolkfestival.com for the AGM dates, and plans for next year.

Harvey-Foulds, Liz (2016). "Festival belongs to the community'. Chronicle Journal.

#press #community #board #volunteers #history

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