CORNER BROOK David Maggs attributes the impressive audiences at nearly every one of the Gros Morne Summer Music’s shows this season to the strong partnerships the festival has forged with community partners.
The festival’s 10th season wraps up this weekend with the final two performances of “The Trolley Car,” at the Heritage Theatre in Woody Point tonight and the finale at the Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook Sunday.
Working in collaboration with the City of Corner Brook, the Town of Woody Point and the Gros Morne Co-operating Association, said Maggs, seems to have given the festival the foundation it required to become a preeminent cultural attraction in western Newfoundland.
“The city stepped in with a pretty bold vision and we have just tried to run with it as best we could,” Maggs said during a break from one of the festival’s final rehearsals Thursday.
“It has paid off so well this summer. Our audience numbers are way up.”
The season kicked off with what Maggs considered one of the highlights, namely a free outdoor show by The Once and Elliott Brood in downtown Corner Brook July 18. Since then, the festival packed in crowds six or seven times a week, including up to three weekly shows in Woody Point.
Although the festival has been playing Woody Point for years, it tripled the content in the Gros Morne National Park enclave this summer.
“It worked out much better than we anticipated,” said Maggs. “We thought this first year would be slow, but that hasn’t been the case and we have had great numbers in Woody Point as well.”
Even a series of five arts caps for kids was well attended.
The other highlight for Maggs was the interaction of local performers with artists from six countries and the amount of original content audiences were treated to.
“People are seeing the creative force right there on the stage, which is a nice change from what you typically see in a festival or what we’ve done in the past,” he said.
Maggs doesn’t intend to mess with a good thing and assured the festival’s patrons they can expect the same high quality in 2013.
He is also hoping to see the return of an outdoor production on the Glynmill Inn Pond, which was a festival highlight in 2010 and 2011. Discussions have to be had with the city, the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper — all of whom do support such a show happening, said Maggs — to see how it can be more feasibly pulled off.
“Everyone is onboard and I think that’s the one piece that is missing from our Corner Brook operation right now,” he said. “It’s complicated, but we are heading in that direction (of bringing it back next summer).”