Avonmore Kinsmen Cornwall Lift Off 2013 was marred as it was a balloon festival without many balloons.
For reasons unconfirmed (the buzz was US customs which didn’t make much sense) most of the balloons launched from distant Avonmore Ontario instead of Cornwall or even nearby St. Andrews.
The traditional sky filled with colourful bilious spheres was not to be seen.
There were the traditional complaints about the entertainment; the rides cost children too much; the headlines bands weren’t that great, the grounds were still soaking and full of goose poop; but there were some steps forward this year.
Lift Off decided to not spend money on secondary acts and instead fill their musical lineup with local bands including even allowing cover bands to appear on stage.
And apparently in a first they actually paid local bands!
Local band Booze Hound!
With perfect weather though attendance was estimated at 3-5,000 per day with no estimates coming in over the 10K mark for a single day.
With a free admission event coming up in a few weeks we read comment after comment about Lift Off by people who simply didn’t think it made sense to pay $25 per day admission when the other event would be free. There aren’t that many vegetarians in Cornwall.
The biggest flaw with Lift Off is the “Volunteer Board” not to be confused with the hundreds of amazing volunteers that do the heavy lifting for the event.
And the control of Lift Off by city officials like Economic
non Development like Bob Peters.
Lift Off has to decide if it’s a tourism event meant to draw people in from all over or a local Summer celebration. Lou Gramm from Foreigner really didn’t fit the bill of either and frankly it’s a competitive market and Cornwall has to compete with nearby Montreal and Ottawa. Even the nearby Franklin County Fair in little Malone NY has country star Vince Gill and the Little River Band playing.
And Lift Off finally did diversify by having Country music Saturday night instead of just playing the usual Corus radio station format bands.
With attendance numbers down over 50% since 2010 it just might be time for a good review and housecleaning and for the organization to realize that to earn community support you have to be inclusive, and you have to be professional. Nobody wants to team up with a mess.
While many are suggesting that the days of Lift Off may be over this scribbler is hoping that a miracle happens and that smarter, wiser, minds prevail, and with some new blood and leadership Cornwall Ontario can have a true Summer event worthy of its great people.
The highlight for many this Lift Off was the return of fan fave and Legendary Canadian Rockers April Wine which now has even more meaning in Cornwall since drummer Jerry Mercer has been replaced by Roy Nichol of Cornwall!
It’s time for Lift Off to launch to the next level. Hopefully it can happen as the great people and volunteers of Cornwall deserve it!
And they definitely need a new website design team as it was terribly slow and not terribly well designed.
Did you go to Lift Off? Post your thoughts and comments why you did or didn’t below.