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Many reasons contribute to South Country Fair Covid 19 cancellation

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South Country Fair has survived floods, floods, droughts, wind storms, torrential rain, scorching heat and everything in between according to organizer Gillian Moranz, but it couldn’t survive Covid 19 this year. But have no fear, the fair will be back next year.

Moranz answered several questions by e-mail.Jack Garton playing South Country Fair last year. Photo by Richard Amery

She noted though July seems far away, there were many good reasons to cancel the fair this year.
“It is true that the festival is not until July, but on the scale of a global pandemic like this, a few short months is very little time. Our decision to postpone SCF #34 was not an easy one by any means. It was very difficult for our coordinators to digest the reality of not moving forward with something that is so important to us all,” she wrote.
“There are so many Fair kids who have never known a summer without SCF. We have countless volunteers and attendees that have been coming for 30 plus years. So many dedicate so much to what we create together, year after year. Needless to say, we did not take this decision lightly. But, at the end of the day, it came to down the health and safety of our community,” she continued.

Organizers considered several important points before deciding to cancel the fair this year.
 “We have been notified that, although it has not been mandated provincially yet, it is highly unlikely that the number of individuals able to convene will increase higher than 250 by the summer. This is not yet mandated federally or provincially, but after conversations with our municipal government we did not feel confident planning a gathering of that size and proportion in our small town as early as July. At the moment Albertans cannot convene in groups larger than 15 and the prospects of all restrictions being lifted by July 16 are slim to none.
    • We are responsible to ensure the health and safety of our communities. As this situation escalates globally we cannot in good faith assume that there will not be a risk of infection this summer, even if it the danger becomes less than it is currently. We are talking about the health of our artists, our attendees, our volunteers, our coordinators, our families and Fort Macleod residents. We take this responsibility very seriously, and although it is difficult to comprehend, we could not move forward in good faith knowing that we could potentially be putting our communities at risk.

    • The fact that we run a camping festival is not insignificant. Our sanitation is outstanding on a normal year, but with risk of COVID-19 we have to accept the fact that we have no running water or protocol in place for these types of sanitation requirements. We did not feel we had the ability to meet the current sanitation protocol that would garner our communities completely safe while onsite.

    • Even simple things like how we feed our performers and coordinators became extremely problematic. As a small festival we do not have the capacity to make major changes to the way we operate in such a short span of time.
     • Our concern was also part and parcel with our ability to sell tickets. Would people still come out in strong numbers? The economy is tanking and so many people are out of work right now. When the restrictions are lifted, will folks put their heads down and work for the summer rather than taking holidays in hope of recouping lost income? And what about the fear factor? There will likely be some crowd PTSD that will take some time to get past, especially with the older demographics in our communities (and rightly so). We were justly concerned that these factors would directly impact our ability to draw enough people to not risk running a deficit. Sustainability is always a crucial conversation, even 34 years later. And, if people did buy tickets in larger numbers we circle back to the concerns listed above. No matter how you look at it, we are in a cycle of scary scenarios.

    • We have received several accounts of Canadian musicians who have been infected with COVID-19 after returning home from tour (before all the cancellations began), making us wonder how realistic is was to ask Canadian artists to travel to us, or if they would even want to as the situation progresses. 
At the end of the day, we made the decision earlier than many expected, but the reality is, this situation is not going to go away quickly. Treatment and vaccines will not be fast tracked as early as the summer because that is not how the medical industry works, and the potential risks to our communities are not worth business as usual. At least, that is SCF's sentiment. ”

She noted everybody who has already purchased seasons passes for the festival have already been contacted with their options.
“Yes, we have given our advanced ticket buyers the option to either request a full refund, carry their ticket over to 2021, or donate their ticket cost to the SCF Association. All the ticket purchasers have been contacted and given instructions on how to proceed. They can communicate their preferred option by responding to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,” she advised.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 April 2020 18:19 ) Read more...

Rotary Dragon Boat Festival cancellation disappointing

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The 19th anniversary ATB Rotary Dragon Boat has been the latest Covid- 19 casualty. However festival chair Dan Westhora hopes the work the four local rotaryThe Chevelles were among the local acts scheduled to play the 2020 ATB Rotary Dragon Boat Festival. Photo by Richard Amery clubs and numerous volunteers have already  put into the event, originally scheduled for June 26-28, will lead to a bigger and better 20th Anniversary festival next year.

“We’ve been following Corvid 19 news since January and set a do or die date by mid April. We wanted to postpone the cancellation as long as possible,” Westhora  said, adding a number of reasons played into the decision to cancel this year’s event. The festival draws 1,500 athletes and, depending on the weather, between 15-20,000 people visiting over the weekend to see the races,  listen to a lot of live music and enjoy food trucks and vendors.

“A lot of money comes to the city because of the festival. But we’d rather everybody walk away happy and healthy after the festival,” he continued, adding part of the reason they cancelled is because the deadline for vendors to submit their deposits is also in April.

 Another reason is several teams travel the summer dragon boat circuit, some communities having cancelled their races already.
“Last year we had 68 teams and 40 of them travel. Some do the entire circuit, others only go to a few of them. We were talking to Edmonton and they’re likely to cancel their festival,” he said.

They were expecting 17 food vendors and an additional 13 or 14 selling merch. The deadline to  get involved with the festival was mid April.

 Westhora, who is also a member of the Mosaic Rotary Club, noted the cancellation also affects local rotary clubs.
“The festival raises a lot of money for the clubs, though that isn’t why we do it,” he said adding local service clubs including Rotary, but also other clubs including Kinsmen and Lions, clubs are thinking out of the box and thinking of new ways to work in the community.

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 April 2020 18:32 ) Read more...

Covid concert cancellations include South Country Fair and Dragon Boat Festival

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Covid -19 concert cancellations are continuing into the summer.Dory Rossiter performing at the Rotary Dragon Boat festival in 2019. Photo by Richard Amery
Over the weekend,  the Rotary Dragon boat Festival announced on their Twitter account, that the 2020 festival, scheduled for June 26-28 has been cancelled for this summer. Crews and vendors  registered will be contacted about refunds.

 Today, the South Country Fair announced South Country Fair #34 will not go on for 2020. It has postponed  until 2021. According to the South Country Fair website,  it is a temporary measure. Organizers are hoping some of the same artists will be available.

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 April 2020 10:10 ) Read more...

Makiisma excited about new CD “Lady Misery”

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Megan Brown shows her heavy side on her  debut  solo CD “Lady Misery,” under her pseudonym Makiisma.
 She was supposed to have a CD release party on the weekend, but it was cancelled due to Covid-19 fears.

While she has recorded with other bands like Junkman’s Quire, this is the first CD she has recorded of her own music with her “doom folk” band Makiisma.
She recordMegan Brown has released Makiisma’s debut Cd Lady Misery. Photo by Richard Ameryed the CD at Green Recording company with producer Jon Martin, who also plays a couple of guitar solos on the CD along with keyboardist TJ Waltho, drummer Keenan Pezderic and bassist Steve Martin. Brown sings, plays guitar plus violin and viola on the songs.

“There are nine songs on the CD that I have written over the past two or three years. I chose songs that had a similar sound,” she said, adding her more folk/ singer/ songwriter songs like  “Do I Work for the Devil (or Live in Hell),” which was her South Country Fair Songwriting competition submission last year, didn’t make the cut.

“I have a lot of folk and singer songwriter songs, but these songs just felt right together. They are a lot of fun. And the band worked best on  a heavier sound,” Brown said, adding she chose the nine best out of 12 songs she had in  the heavier style.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 March 2020 18:06 ) Read more...

Local musician Gabe Thaine performing live shows online

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Just because you can’t go out, it doesn’t mean the music has to stop.

Gabe Thaine is performing live online twice a day. Photo by Richard Amery
 Quite the opposite, with everyone  being told to stay home and any gatherings of more than 50 people being effectively banned including the local live music venues to prevent the spread of the COVID virus, local musicians are performing their shows online.

And listening to music and supporting artistic pursuits is all the more important, if only to prevent going insane from cabin fever. George Arsene has been performing online as has Keenan Pezderic, however local musician Gabe Thaine (Gabriel Olsen)  has decided to perform two shows live online every day — a 45 minute long 2 p.m. show for kids and  an hour and 15 minute long show of his own material plus covers at 9 p.m. every night as well.

“I miss playing open mics and going out to see shows,” said Gabriel Olsen, whose live shows be seen on his Gabe Thaine Facebook page.
“ For the kids show I play songs by Raffi and Sharon Lois and Bram and some of my kids songs. The kids shows I was doing with the band were so much fun and now we can’t do them,” he said.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 March 2020 17:45 ) Read more...
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