Steve Bartlett: No shoes, no shirt, no problems
I changed the calendar to April with apprehension.
Thinking outside the box can have a big payoff. People in a neighbouring county are thinking about a way to turn around a recent setback and transform it into an advantage.
Readers might recall difficulties faced by the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition in Bible Hill, when the Farm Loan Board seized assets after foreclosing on a loan of $422,000. That piece of property is home to the Truro Raceway and also the site of the Dutch Mason Blues Festival, held each August.
In the midst of these complications a proposal is in the works, as reported this week by CBC radio, to use this practically made-to-order space as a venue for large concerts. Blues Festival promoter David DeWolfe has said the Truro Raceway with its large infield could with little investment provide a concert venue to seat 30,000.
Doubtless, music fans in Pictou County will be all ears over this project. A number of blues fans attend that festival and would be happy to travel over Mt. Thom for a big music act.
But what else does this have to do with us?
Well, it’s just one example of a relatively small town thinking big. In general, that’s the kind of attitude the Ivany report encouraged in its recommendations to boost Nova Scotia’s economy.
Locally, we have the recently built Pictou County Wellness Centre that still has a long way to go to break even. The possibilities of this centre were much heralded in the beginning – while in the proposal stage – including larger music events. Yet when the idea of concerts came up more recently in discussions about the money-losing centre, it was dismissed, basically because it would entail some inconveniences.
Consider that Pictou County has some talented, energetic managers with extensive connections running its smaller music theatres. Also let’s remember the kind of crowds that show up to see a major act at the Jubilee.
Give it some thought to invite some bigger names here. Use the centre to advantage. Think boldly. It’s definitely worth a shot.