Is Lift Off in Trouble? Kinsmen to decide this month to continue Sponsorship – September 6, 2011 Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON –  It’s been a bad year for festivals in the area.   The Ottawa Ex didn’t happen this summer in our Nation’s capital, and now there are rumblings that Cornwall Kinsmen Lift Off could be in jeopardy for 2012.    The festival underwent some dramatic changes this year losing two presidents in one season, and having to borrow $30,000 from the city of Cornwall Ontario in an emergency call to council.

Those monies were replaced, but there’s doubt as to what’s left in the bank to fund 2012 as the attendance this year was just over half of the groups target in spite of perfect conditions weather wise.

I contacted Michael Galvin, President of the Kinsmen who confirmed that the group will have to decide at their meeting at the end of this month whether to renew their support for another multi-year contract.

Judi Auger, still president currently of the Lift Off team, was surprised by the query stating that she won’t know anything until the Kinsmen meeting, and they always are on the look out for sponsorship for the event.

Lift Off has been a balloon fest held each summer in Cornwall Ontario.   This year over 30,000 people visited the event which featured such musical performances as Kim Mitchell, April Wine, and Platinum Blonde.  Hundreds of volunteers help make the festival one of the smoothest running events in the area.

The festival came under fire this year for its relationship with the local Corus radio outlet,   and a lack of support for local musical talent as we covered in this earlier story.   LINK   There were also issues as the Cornwall Downtown Business Improvement Association pulled its financial support after issues with finding ways to improve traffic and benefits to the downtown core of businesses.


What do you think Cornwall?  Can Lift Off be saved?  Is there another potential sponsor if the Kinsmen do not continue their support?  What do you think could be done to improve the festival?   And should the festival receive public tax dollars in its current form with its current team?

You can post your comments below.

Moustache Joes


  1. Why doesn’t the Cornwall Free News become the sponsor? You have all of these great ideas and suggestions as to how it could be better?

  2. I wouldn’t give the present gang another nickel until they account for all those hundreds-of-thousands of dollars they took in this year. Where did all the money go?

  3. This article is an example of poor journalism and “spinning” a story to a particular angle that serves the intent of the editor.

    For the record I was contacted to explain “rumors” that the editor had heard. By implying that I have “confirmed” anything is a lose translation of our conversation where I explained to the editor that I simply could not give him any answers as we have not had any meetings at this point and that our budget was not set. Our club has had no discussion one way or the other on the support of the festival.

    Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-off is a flagship event for our community and the ALL VOLUNTEER board that puts on this festival works long hours with very little reward to do something good for our community. There are far too many people who are willing to complain and knock things down, but they often don’t have any better ideas, nor do I see these same naysayers sitting around any of the community board meetings that I attend. If anyone feels that they can do a better job in organizing a world-class festival year after year I encourage them to contact Lift-Off and volunteer their expertise.

    This story would have been significantly more balanced if the editor admitted that he was basing this article on personal opinion, rumors and conjecture, rather than hard facts. One person crying foul hardly counts as an entire festival “coming under fire”.

    Respectfully, I remain;

    Michael J. Galvin
    Kinsmen Club of Cornwall

  4. Author

    Dear Mr. Galvin. I will explain some fundamentals of journalism to you so we can try and avoid the ignorance and utter rudeness of your post.

    A story comes across a news desk. You call the parties in question to fact check or verify. In this case a phone call was made to yourself and Ms Auger. From your post you clearly are not suggesting that you were misquoted. You were asked a clear question to which you responded that the current contract was over, and that you had a meeting coming up this month to decide if another would be granted. You did not confirm any other details, and we didn’t report any other details pertaining to our conversation.

    I did not know the you were psychic as to being able to “know” my intent. Our phone conversation was pleasant and polite which makes this post of yours most surprising.

    This isn’t about one or a few people “crying”. Cornwall Kinsmen Lift Off is publicly funded in part, and the public have a right to certain answers. We as a media outlet simply were the medium to those questions. Our original story had well over 100 comments from the public from all over the spectrum; from performers to those from outside the city.

    In our story we clearly pointed out the work of the hundreds of volunteers and the importance of the festival. I hope the Kinsmen continue to support a revitalized and accountable Lift Off team that embrace the good will and assistance of the entire community, and not just their friends and clique mates…or Kin.

    30,000 people at $15 per head is $450,000, minimum. What happened to all of those dollars? What about the year before? And while you’re posting here perhaps you could answer the question asked to us by so many which is why the Kinsmen didn’t loan Lift Off the $30K emergency money instead of the group having to go to City Hall?

    With actual respect and not being rude and making suppositions,

    Jamie Gilcig

  5. I smell a couple of lawyers lurking in the bushes.

  6. Author

    Aw Furtz I have a great lawyer. The trick is never to have to use him 🙂

  7. Let me know your lawyer’s hourly rate, and I’ll defend you or fight for you for half that rate. I’ll even offer you transportation to and from court free of charge! I just talked to the preacher, and he’s agreed to pray for a successful outcome if you accept my offer.

  8. Michael, just report the facts and do not suppose. People would love to know the answers to a few questions us the money!!!!

  9. Author

    Furtz last time I needed his services, back in the 90’s it was $450 per hour. His rate has probably gone up since…

  10. No problem Jamie. I’ll do it for $250/hr, and the preacher will throw in three short prayers per day. Deal?

  11. Author

    Somtimes Furtz ol chum you have to pay for prime. If I needed a big gun my guy is tops and I wouldn’t trade him for gold 🙂

  12. Furtz – “I just talked to the preacher, and he’s agreed to pray for a successful outcome if you accept my offer”. You did?

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