The photo above was circling around social media Sunday, and it tells a thousand words: For this festival to continue, management needs some new blood. Namely, someone with a finger on a pulse.
The weather wasn’t a deterrent — we’re Newfoundlanders, and people suited up just fine for Confederation Hill. Competition from the Rod Stewart show couldn’t have helped. But the main issue was the lineup.
Fogerty already played the island this year, watering down his appeal, and the rest of the lineup was composed of bands the Average Joe would assume were deceased or at least retired. You don’t want potential showgoers thinking, “oh yeah, I remember them,” but rather, “oh yeah, I love their new album.” Either that or they need to be pretty epic — like former headliners The Eagles — who have records people still play to this day.
With all due respect to festival organizers, whom I’m sure did their best, Tom Cochrane was inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame 14 years ago, which typically marks the end of a career (I figured he was dead or at least retired) … Collective Soul might still play, but they’re a 90’s band that everyone liked, but no one loved (If I were ever going to go see them it’d have been in 1995 not 2015, 20 years after their heyday). On that note, Fogerty is not CCR. And CCR’s heyday was 1969.
They booked a bunch of bands well past their Best Before Date, who appeal to an age group that doesn’t tend to take in live music with the fierce voracity of the under 35 crowd.Book Arcade Fire alongside a classic band, and you wouldn’t even need another act on the bill to fill that field. That’s one way to go.
If the festival wants to stick with appealing to the old and the young alike — as they should, because it’s the best way to fill a field — they should consider artists with overlapping appeal among several demographics, like Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, or Bob Dylan — 2 of whom have played here and claimed to have loved it. (I hear we have no venue big enough for Bruce, in fairness.)
No one’s denying that “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and “Bad Moon Rising” are classics. But people would either A.) Want to go see CCR, not just a member thereof, or B.) Hesitate to hop in a car, drive for hours, and stand around at a festival known for oversights like not having ample water on hand to keep people hydrated.
Salmon Fest shouldn’t be declared dead: everything has a bad year or two. These people work hard, and they care, and we should cheer them on to realign. If only because the festival is of such benefit to the community. The festival should, however, look to festivals that sell out before acts are even announced — like Osheaga or Newport Folk Festival — and study how to achieve that kind of branding and rapport.
This is of course an over-simplified sentiment … but one seemingly lacking from coverage to date. This article was meant to generate discussion, not sound harsh. See below and the comments below the Facebook post of this article for that conversation.