Haliburton Outdoors Association singin’ mo’ money blues

Fishstock flops like a four pound bass in a wet well


Everyone wants to be a music promoter.

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Gonna flip, flop and fry. Don't care if we die. Was it a good idea to have these guys front Fishstock. If you're a true spin believer? It was. We're not so convinced. Photo courtesy of Sask-Fest.

It’s da’ cat’s pajamas baby. Big tent, big talent, your guy/my guy Blackberry flutter, schmoozing with legends.

Heady stuff. Looks good on a resume too.

Not many people venture into the game. It’s not for novices.

Because it’s hard work. It requires special skills and organizational acumen. It’s bloody difficult to be a festival promoter. It’s a year of your life. Or it should be.

But of course that doesn’t stop every Tom Dick and Mary – with an idea and a few notes drawn on a restaurant napkin – from going out on some cockeyed quest to organize “a little festival in the park.”

The festival business is so crowded right now that even seasoned, well-traveled, finely-tuned promoters are taking a pass. The business is unpredictable. It’s nutty as a fruitcake.

At the risk of offending some people? I’m going to go right ahead and do it. Why? Because we are not enamored of double talk and twin-speak; and the cool schmooze; and the sardonic spin.

And we are hearing a galloping din of self-aggrandizing spin regarding a recent undertaking.

To wit: Fishstock. Held on Saturday, August 13. You are forgiven that thousand-mile-stare. Trust me. It happened.

Fishstock; a charming music festival with headliner Downchild Blues Band, was brought to you from the good folks at the Outdoor Association via the velvet-svelte verisimilitude of promoter John Teljeur.

Fishstock was ill-conceived and probably doomed from inception to its sad denouement.

Teljeur went into the event optimistic that the hastily conceived notion could garner enough money to fix an aging roof on top of the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association’s fish hatchery.

Fishstock was a melodic trod on eggshells. One of “those ideas.” And it was doomed to fail because the organizers thought they could put the soiree together in 3 months. Or two months, or however many days, weeks and hours they had. It’s all a little hazy.

Planning? Fishstock’s August 13th date fell on the same day as Canoe FM’s annual Country Music Hoe Down fundraiser.

Remember what we said about that overflowing retinue of summer music festivals? Did anyone do any homework? Never mind. That’s a rhetorical.

The roof is a good cause. The rub? Fishstock lost money and the Haliburton Highlands Outdoors Association apparently fronted some $7,500 on this expedition to the River Styx. You know. Expecting a return.

Bottom line? Well, stay tuned. We know it’s red.

And you know what ticks us off most about this event and the way wee events in general are organized in Haliburton? The spin. From the doctors. We hate spin. It’s disingenuous. It’s unhealthy. Stephen Colbert calls such speckles of sticky scuttlebutt truthiness.

Minden Times/Haliburton Echo reporter Chad Ingram was at the AGM of the HHOA held Aug. 21. Fishstock organizer John Teljeur said, “Fishstock, regardless of whether it made money or not, was successful,” The Haliburton Echo story is excerpted below. Teljeur went on to explain that the event had gained the association a lot of exposure. Exposure plus a ‘buck-fitty’ will get you a coffee; over to the Kozy Korner.

No money made. And money that might have been used to fix the roof is now somewhere west of the Brooklyn Bridge… and I can sell you that much-bartered span for the price of a Cody Burger Platter at McKecks.

Exposure and spun drivel. That’s what passes for success these days in Haliburton. We are gobsmacked.

I was waiting for the County Voice to wade in with a news story – after all they were billed as an event sponsor – but they apparently gave the AGM a pass. I’ll leave you to your own conjectures on that one. Thankfully the Echo thought enough of the event to send a reporter. I couldn’t go. I’ve been banned from the club. Long story.

So we’ll let Echo/Times reporter Chad Ingram recount re the finer points of the meeting.

(The HHOA which also operate)s “ the Haliburton Fish Hatchery, held its annual general meeting on Aug. 21 and the news, at least from a financial standpoint, was not good.

President Bill Beatty told members it had been “a pretty busy and pretty rough year. Financially, we’re not in good shape at all.”

The association has an annual operating budget of approximately $80,000 and is losing substantial funding sources.

This year completes a four-year funding agreement with Haliburton County at $20,000 per annum and while it received $12,000 in funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources this year (less than the $25,000 a year it used to receive), it will receive nothing from the ministry in 2012.

The hatchery’s roof needs work, with Ball receiving cost estimates of between $5,000 and $15,000 for the work.

Fishstock, a fundraising concert held on Aug. 13 at the hatchery brought a number of big-name blues acts to the county, but failed to bring in any money.

In fact, the event lost money.

Organizer John Teljeur, who was elected to the association’s board during the meeting, said it was still unclear how much money Fishstock had lost, but maintained it had not been a flop.

“Fishstock, regardless of whether it made money or not, was successful,” Teljeur said, stressing the event had gained the association a lot of exposure.

The association cosigned a $7,500 loan for the event.

“With two months to organize, it was going to be tough sledding all the way . . . and obviously that was the end result,” said Teljeur, who hoped as many as 1,000 people would attend.

Attendance levels were well below that.

Teljeur said he’d learned a lot and is confident the event can still be successful, potentially bringing in between $40,000 and $60,000 for the hatchery.

If the association “repackaged” the hatchery a bit to make it more of a tourist destination, he believes the association could take more advantage of grant programs.

Only in Haliburton.

Only in Haliburton could you lose money on a whack-a-mole flyer and turn a money-losing fiasco into a gasping success.

And then! And then good friends?

Get elected to the board!

And that folks.

Is a fine fish tale.

gav@pardontheeruption.com twitter.com/terrancegavan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]