Comedian Shaun Majumder is hoping to “have a time” in his hometown of Burlington, and everyone’s invited.
Majumder is spearheading an event to embrace all that rural Newfoundland has to offer by organizing an outdoor kitchen party, of sorts, Aug. 24-26.
The Gathering is a celebration of the elements on the Baie Verte Peninsula, Majumder explained from his Los Angeles home.
“My vision for this kind of event really folds into all the things that I’ve always wanted to do to share Burlington and the area with many people.”
Primal in name and specific to the province’s culture, The Gathering will focus on fire, food, friends and music.
“Somewhere between a campfire feel and a songwriters’ circle,” said Majumder. “It will be a very intimate musical experience ... And sharing a lot of happiness in the moment.”
Members of Hey Rosetta!, The Once and Sherman Downey are going to make an appearance over the weekend.
But, he said, there will be no stature or status to the event, even though there will be some recognizable names sitting around the camp fire.
“I want it to be an intermingling of everybody with everybody,” he said. “That’s the way rural Newfoundland is.”
First, Majumder and his organizing committee of various friends and acquaintances had to overcome some obstacles of hosting an event in a small community.
“The problem is, there’s nowhere to stay and no where to eat,” he said straight-up.
With only four months to plan the event the first thing Majumder did was step up a greenhouse and hire a staffer to grow produce native to the province.
Food from the Hummock View Greens, as the greenhouse is called, will be eaten at The Gathering.
Chefs, such as the likes of Todd Perrin from Food Network’s Top Chef Canada, will indulge visitors in locally grown and prepared meals.
Over the weekend, there will be “chef hikes,” where people hike out, are greeted by chefs and freshly-cooked food, and have the possibility of boating back to the main camping area.
Much of the festivities will be shared at Blanche’s Corner, named after a lady who lives near by, and maintains a deck and fire pit Majumder helped built near her house last year.
Local kids named the area, and the area now hosts the greenhouse and will set the backdrop for The Gathering.
“It’s becoming the centre of town that it once was,” Majumder said.
The whole weekend, from the Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, will be informal and flexible in scheduling, said Majumder.
The festivities will also involve, cooking classes, some farmers’ market activity and whatever else may come along the way.
For the purpose of The Gathering, visitors will be, somewhat, ‘roughing it’.
As there are very little lodging, people are encouraged to bring tents, campers or RVs. There will be some large canvas tents that Majumder and is crew will set up in a designated cove.
Majumder said he’s working on amenities, such as porta potties, but there is no shortage of fresh water nearby for cleaning up.
“It’s going to be real rustic this time around,” he said. “Because there’s not a lot of infrastructure in place.”
For all reasons sentimental, Majumder says he embraces Burlington because it’s, simply, “home.” But for tourism reasons, he says Burlington and compete with the beauty and hospitality of anywhere in the world.
“I know what gets me excited when I travel,” he said. “Great places to stay, adventure opportunities...”
About eight years ago, Majumder bought an old school, that he hopes to turn into a lodging manor of sorts.
For now, the project is securing financing and needs some work before it will be open for operation in a few years.
There is no entry fee to spend a weekend in Burlington for The Gathering. Majumder is asking people to pay what they feel the experience is worth.
He has set up a not-for-profit, BSM Manor that is working towards providing business support to entrepreneurs in Burlington-Smith’s Harbour-Middle Arm area - hence the BSM.
“Because it’s the first (event) a lot of it will happen in the moment,” he said. “And we’ll figure it out as it’s going.”