All the lights are turned off, the amps and art displays are put away, and everyone that put on all the plays and concerts have gone home.
The second annual Verge Arts Festival over the weekend at the Grande Parlour Theatre is in the history book, and Craig Konechny, Cold Lake Entertainment Society president, said last year was a learning experience and their were some minor hiccups. But after a few adjustments, he was thrilled with the results this year.
“The first year what we found was that the way we marketed it, just as a whole Verge Festival, people didn’t really understand the whole back alley component, or maybe the whole music component,” he said.
This year each component was handled separately in terms of promotion– the music from 15 acts on three stages , the four locally-written and produced plays, the local wine and spirits gardens, and even the dj’s laying down beats in the back alley. The music even spilled over next door at Beantrees Cafe, along with the paintings, sculptures, and glassworks displayed in the back room.
“We advertised it as all these different things, but all coming together, he said, and noted other than slight tweaks like shortening the Kids Fair and the Disney production a bit to keep their interest were made, but overall it was a tremendous success, and a lot to build on for next year.
“We know if people came out, they’d see and feel what we feel. We recognize that, and we’ve got a lot to build on, and that’s going to make it easier next year, for sure.”
Although some of the key musical acts came from as far away across the province and even into Saskatchewan, the key element to the Verge’s success on all levels, Konechny noted, is the local content, and the vast pool of talent the area has to pull from, whether it’s theatre or music.
“I’m always blown away with the amount of talent we have here right in Cold Lake, it’s phenomenal, it truly is,” he said, but commented as is the case with any event like this, it was the two dozen or so volunteers that were the driving force behind the weekend’s success. And steady crowds throughout Friday and Saturday night, and the full house Sunday for the Kids Fair were great to see, and a good sign they’re on the right track.
“Things went phenomenal. We’re pretty happy with the format and the structure. There are some who want us to go bigger…. But we so strongly believe in this smaller intimate concept, it’d be hard to duplicate in some field or something.”
Punch Drunk Cabaret, one of the province’s hottest indie acts, was the headliner Saturday night, with locals Eversky, Atlanta Jane, and A Rancher’s Son among the others to take the stage.
“Probably the thing that means the most to me, personally, is the artists that play here – that they feel like they’re part of something unique,” he said. “It’s that unique experience, that’s what this whole thing is about.”