DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Organizers are hoping for large crowds, at the Port Perry Fairgrounds on the Canada Day weekend, for the inaugural Scugog Summer Jam music festival.
On Friday, June 30th, Big Wreck, The Pick Brothers Band and The Bomb will perform at the festival. On Saturday, July 1st, Juno nominated country music artist Aaron Pritchett, as well as Brooklyn Roebuck and Marshall Dane will perform. On Sunday, July 2nd, there will be more local live entertainment performing.
“Bottom line is, we want people to come in there, we want them to stay there, we want them to have a great time and talk about it. At the end of it, hopefully they talk about it for a full year until it happens again,” Anil Maharaj, chair of the Township’s Music Festival Advisory Committee, told The Standard.
Earlier this year, council decided to fund up to $275,351 for the event. Mr. Maharaj explained that once they pay back the township, his goal is to use the remaining profits to develop a youth fine arts program.
“It’s not just youth programs, it is not going back into the arena or sports, this is for the arts,” he said. “I see how there are a lot of kids who are lost. There are a lot of kids who feel like they don’t belong and the amazing thing about music is that it has a way of bringing you back to a place where time stood still.”
Mr. Maharaj also said there is one thing not many people seem to know about the festival.
“It is covered with a tent. The tent is big enough to house approximately 1700 people and the stage as well. “
As well as live music, there is also expected to be multiple beer tents and food vendors on site.
On Monday, June 19th, Scugog Councillors saw a report from Manager of Recreation and Culture Craig Belfry, which stated ticket sales, as of June 8th, had reached 448. Mr. Belfry also projected, in the report, that ticket sales could reach 1700 for the Friday and Saturday. These projections, according to Mr. Belfry, would represent a deficit for the Township of $84,250 for the festival.
However, Mr. Maharaj said he still believes the festival will make a profit.
“Growing up in this town, we never bought tickets ahead of time for anything. You go at the last minute. I’m confident that that is what is going to happen with this event,” he said. “I think for Friday night and Saturday night, we are going to see a flood at the gate.”
As well, he said this festival has been talked about quite a bit in neighbouring municipalities.
“There has been a lot of talk in Uxbridge about this event. The night I did the deputation [to Scugog Council] and received the $70,000, I got an email from a councillor in Uxbridge saying congratulations. It blew me away that the news got over there that fast,” Mr. Maharaj said.
22-year-old Donovan Romanowski is one of the members of the community who has decided to volunteer at the festival. He explained to The Standard why he decided to volunteer.
“It was a super easy decision,” he said. “I’m 22 years old and I just want to invest my time back to the community. I look at it as an opportunity and an experience. It’s just something to do. It’s better than sitting at home or trying to find something to do last minute.”
Mr. Maharaj called it “refreshing” to see someone like Donovan who just wants to give their time to help support their community.
“It reminds me a lot of somebody who just wants to make a difference, not just in their community but with other kids,” he said.
Mr. Maharaj added the festival could always use more volunteers to help out. He also explained that he hopes this festival will inspire youth to organize a music event in the community in the future.
“What I would like to see is to have young people say ‘ok, we want to organize something as well’, maybe a death metal festival, and they can use me for guidance or for consulting,” Mr. Maharaj said. “Adults will oversee it, but let them take the reigns and let them develop something. That is when it starts to become sustainable.”
Gates and the beer tent will open at 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the gate, or people can buy a combined ticket for the Friday and Saturday for $60. They can be bought online, at www.ticketfly.com, or at Vos’ Independent in Port Perry.
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