2012 Cornwall Kinsmen Lift Off Update – Will Burton Cummings, Big Wreck, and Sloan Make Your Monkey?

CFN –  The good news is that Cornwall is going to have its Lift Off Baloon Festival again this year.  The odd news is that the group running it still is working under a veil of mystery and secrecy.

The non-profit community funded group still refuses to share who is on its board.   It still refuses to open its books to public scrutiny.    It still is in a firm grip of one predatory media outlet.

Break it to them Gently

An insider that leaked the head line performers for this years music acts, Burton Cummings, Big Wreck, and Sloan all fit that one media outlets music format.

In a region that’s rich in musical diversity it seems odd to see those choices?  No country, no jazz.  Heck, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morrisette, The Tea Party, and countless other great acts are on tour yet this team chooses to spend over $50,000 on Burton Cummings while still refusing to pay local acts.  (They get free tix to the event) and some Strawberry sherbet…

An event like Lift Off is such an opportunity.    It’s an opportunity to bring the community together.   It’s an opportunity to show case Cornwall to the region.

Sadly it turns out to be an exercise in how tightly a clique of people can keep control of an event while not fully reporting to those that volunteer their time (without insurance) what happens to all of the funds.

It was hoped this winter would see a drastic overhaul of the Lift Off structure and a new age for the festival, but sadly it looks like the same old same old.

Maybe after this year someone will learn…..

So Cornwallites?  Are you happy with these kinds of acts or would you like to see more diversity?

You can post your comments below.


  1. I would love to see some country music come to the balloon festival, hopefully ribfest will have some for us, I’m so looking forward to that event as we go to the brockville and gananoque ones and love the music there. maybe it will take over from balloonfest? we passed it by last summer.

  2. If the “clique” is truly non-profit then they should be required to prove it, showing their books, etc. Anything less than 100% proof should bring heavy taxes down on them. Another question is whether the “clique” pay HST, that they automatically collect, to the government? Perhaps enquiries may be made at that level? With all the shit that could rain down on them it’s quite obvious that being a member of the “clique” is quite shitty!

  3. Author

    Stan there are always issues with events that collect gobs of liquid cash….

  4. if you think Burton Cummings, Big Wreck and Sloan fit any of Corus’s formats in this city; it’s obvious you do not listen to the stations in question.

  5. Paying our local performing artists to participate, shows support and respect.

  6. Burton Cummings? 50K? They could have had Kim Mitchell and April Wine (featuring long time Cornwallian Roy Nichol drumming) back for that. Big Wreck? Sloan? Never heard of them.

    Last year was great! This year will see them in the red again. My summer is ruined, not.

  7. This has to be a joke otherwise if this is true liftoff will suck so bad…. Burton Cummings??? money that bad you booked this as your headliner, goodness may as well have booked Milli Vanilli, and who the heck is Big Wreck?? Oh yes this years Liftoff. Sloan?? you out did yourself this year guys… NOT… How about some good Country acts for once, get away with booking all of Canada’s has beens please and change it up for once, your starting to look and sound like 2 local radio stations in Cornwall, boring as heck and the same music over and over.

  8. After seeing those bands ive never even heard of my life.. I lost hope in Cornwall. Those idiots don’t think about if we do get a good new age band. people will travel to see them! the chances are , whoever those bands are, they have ether already been seen or no one cares about them.. No wonder are city can’t get anywhere. my buddy’s little town of 3 200 people got better known bands then these!!

  9. This is a typical “Rob Seguin” line-up (Lift-Off Entertainment Programmer). He’ll most likely have his band, ‘Rob’-Salt, warming up for the headliners again. In previous years, the committee hasn’t even booked their acts direct with the agencies. They use a third-party guy from western Ontario and give him $10k to handle the bookings for them. The bands they’ve chosen in the past have been so repetitive (April Wine, Graham “put me to sleep” Greer) they have to have other unfamiliar (to the masses) acts such as Sloan and Big Wreck (aka Thornley). Thornley performed at a music festival at the Cornwall Speedway a few years back and drew a lousy 500 people, and most of them were actually there to see Default, not Thornley. Why not country music? Rob Seguin hates country, besides, his band wouldn’t be able to open the show. Same goes for Jazz, 50’s, and 60’s. Please… grow the festival! Bring bigger acts. No more Glass Tiger, Platinum Blonde! Bring more American or European acts if you are running out of Canadian acts. Charge a little more if you have to, and for goodness sake… provide full disclosure!

  10. ~Sigh~ I sure hope it’s not Burton Cummings. Why do the organizers think everyone wants to see old acts? Get with the times! Sheesh!

  11. if this is a single sponsored event why do the organizers have to share information? Isn’t the choice of entertainment the right of those who may know what/who the target audience is and what kind of budget they have to work with? Help me, I don’t get it.

  12. Author

    Mare Lift Off is a community funded and tax payer funded event which is a non profit corporation with a volunteer board and hundreds of dedicated volunteer staff. Unfortunately as can happen a clique has sorta taken it over and have a radio station’s program director making the musical choices for the event.
    Thus apparently only bands that fit its formats are given big dollars to play and instead of getting all media to participate only that radio station is given the yoke of promoting the event with minor odd bones; usually in lieu of sponsorship given to other area media, even though the city gives Lift Off $10K cash to market the event. For example Lift Off has refused to even ask us to sponsor even though we’re the number one media in this town locally and externally.
    (We were a sponsor in 2010 while event creator Chris Savard was a contractor for CFN) Mr. Rob Seguin actually tried having me evicted from the event that year while I was watching a band play!)

    They (the radio station) practice predatory sales and force events to grant them exclusivity while still actually charging them cash for advertising. Pretty slick when it works for the radio company, but costs the event and the community much exposure.

  13. Best Line-up in lift-off history! For those of you who have never heard of Big Wreck or Sloan, wake up!! To “2012 lift-off major dissappointment”, in spite of a lousy turn-out for the speedway show, Thornley’s performance was stellar. Sloan has been churning out hits since the early nineties and are still very relevant today. As far as I’m concerned, if you have anything bad to say about Burton Cummings, lift-off just isn’t the place for you to begin with. He is a legend and probably one of the most influential Canadian artists of all time. There’s an easy solution to all of your griping and complaining. Stay home and bitch about things on the net, and we will enjoy the show!!

  14. Author

    Smitty – Bryan Adams and Melissa Etheridge are both touring at this time. Country, Hard Rock, Jazz, BLUES!, Metal, Rap, Hip Hop. It’s not whether an artist is good enough. It’s about value for the dollars and reasons behind the choice.

    Rob Seguin’s station isn’t even number one in this market. 94.7 is and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Burton Cummings song on there….

  15. OK, so it’s called the Kinsmen Lift Off, how come when it’s the radio station lift off? Why doesn’t the radio station fund it?

  16. Author

    Mare the radio station gets gobs of cash given to it to advertise lift off. It’s pretty greasy. Again, that’s why any tax payer, community supported public event should have transparency to the public instead of being a fun toy for a small clique of people and a few of their friends at City Hall like Mr. Peters.

  17. Don’t think I’ve heard Bryan Adams or Melissa Etheridge on there either admin. There will always be other choices out there. To me, this is the first year that lift-off hasn’t filled the stage with washed up one hit wonders (albeit there have been a few gems in their line-ups). Weather permitting, this line-up has the most potential for an awesome turn-out. I’ve been chatting with some people this morning, and everyone seems to be pretty thrilled about this potential line-up. I’ve even had a few laughs when suggesting that we get Bryan Adams instead. Like many people have said before, if you have nothing good to say about something, don’t say anything at all.

  18. Smitty84, if you can’t take criticism you will never improve. If you try to hide things from the public it’s because you are afraid to have them seen. An event like Lift Off should be transparent and inclusive so the whole community can benefit.

  19. I don’t know any of the people but the discussion about music detracts from the bigger issues…the music is, in a sense, a symptom of an underlying illness. So…if you go to the lift off website a company can apply to be a vendor. It doesn’t say what it costs, but that aside: Are you saying that CFN or the Freeholder or Seaway News is not allowed to have a booth to talk about their brand?

  20. If the radio station gets gobs of cash, how much goes back to the not-for-profit presumably to feed next year’s lift off? And why would any not-for-profit “in good standing” allow its organization to be controlled that way. Not-for-profits usually have a cod of ethics.

  21. Author

    Hi Mare,

    Frankly it’s totally confusing what’s going on with Lift Off because of the secrecy for a publicly funded community event…

  22. Well, I guess confusion is the strategy…secrecy is the underlying cancer that has to be cut out. My feeling is, the more people talk about the music the further away the scalpel will be kept.

  23. Guess i’m going to wrapped tour and the hoedown instead once again..Good’ old Cornwall messes everything up again

  24. And speaking of Mr. Peters….. did you see who is in the new ad that debuts in Ottawa’s Life Magazine, if you guessed his son, you’d be correct, now why is that Mr. Peters?? If it’s not your “very very close blonde radio host” daughter it’s your son. You wonder why people target the ones who ask for it. yet another all about me, way to go BOB.

  25. And if you looked at last years magazine you’d see Sue’s daughter, again BOB why is that?

  26. The best and most memorable Lift-Off acts that come to my mind were back when David Wilcox performed, and a year or two later, when a Pink Floyd tribute band played before during and long after thunderstorms had chased the faint hearted out of Lamoureux Park.

    Awwww, sweet weed and music. Those acts were the real thing.

  27. Well…not sure about Sloan or Big Wreck..but anyone who doesn’t understand the music genius of Canadian Rock legend Burton Cummings….is truly not a music fan. This man has written so many songs, lead singer of the Guess Who and a solo act for the past 50 years. Just beaucae you’ve been around for a long time doesn’t make you bad….have you been to see him lately? No, you woudn’t leave Cornwall…..I have…..this man rocks better now then he did in the 60’s and 70’s. He is the true Canadian Rock genius and legend. He has received the Order of Canada for his musical work…..people in Cornwall really have no idea….wake up and be proud that your Lift-Off committee actually went out and got someone who can actually rock! April Wine,Kim Mitchell? Get real! Well done in my opeinion…..go Burton go! Rock on…..keep an open mind folks and enjoy the show..it will be fantastic!

  28. Couple of comments:

    1. To Smitty84: Amen
    2. You continually refer to Lift off as a publicly funded event, however upon review of the city budget I see nothing referring to public money being given to lift-off. See http://www.cornwall.ca/en/finance/resources/2012DraftBudgetOverview.pdf specifically pages 22-23. Where is your information from?
    3. I have just been informed that the Standard-Freeholder is a media sponsor of lift-off, therefore it is not a radio exclusive event.
    4. Are you seriously using the word “predatory” to describe the actions of others?…isn’t that a textbook example of the “kettle calling the pot black”

  29. Burton Cummings played Cornwall in 1986. You know where? Salons A, B, and C. I was there. It was dead – poor turnout! Yes, he is a legend, however, he is NOT the Guess Who. He is a better suited act than Sloan or Big Wreck is though… that’s for sure. Cornwall’s Corus radio is awful. The lineup will match. They lose in the ratings to 94.7 Hits, and 101.5 The Fox every year.

  30. Burton Cummings is nothing but a lame rip off. Same old blues played poorly for “music fans” who can’t hear. Commercial success does not good music make. Cummings music is trite, banal, cloying, and derivative to the max. He is not a “genious”, he is not original, he is not “influential”. He is a thief…he dines upon the same tired old white boy “rock and roll”. Then again, his “fans” don’t know any better anyway.

Leave a Reply