Tignish Town Council will seek a meeting with Tignish Initiatives to voice its displeasure with the economic development organization scheduling its Stompin’ Tom Music Fest right into the community’s Irish Moss Festival dates.
Councillors said they agreed to it last year, when the Stompin’ Tom Centre in nearby Skinners Pond was being officially opened on Canada Day, and the town even footed the bill for the fireworks show in Skinners Pond.
But Council is not in agreement with maintaining that schedule going forward.
So, when Lloyd Gavin, council liaison on Tignish Initiatives reported on Tignish Initiatives plans during the monthly council meeting, councillors reacted.
Mayor Allan McInnis acknowledged Tignish doesn’t “own” the Canada Day weekend, but he pointed out it’s well known that’s when Tignish holds its Irish Moss festival.
“If they have all these events on the same time as ours, then our Irish Moss won’t be as profitable,” he said. He explained that Irish Moss Festival proceeds help support organizations in the community, including minor hockey, figure skating and the area.
Councillor Angel Murphy suggested incorporating the Stompin’ Tom Festival into the Irish Moss Festival might work for the betterment of Tignish. “That’s what they are here for: to make Tignish a better place, not kill the Irish Moss,” she reasoned. With Tignish Initiatives hoping to attract a large crowd to its music festival, Murphy suggested there should, at least, be scraps that the Irish Moss Festival can pick up, but McInnis said he doesn’t want the crumbs.
“I honestly feel the Irish Moss weekend is being bullied,” said the mayor.
Councillor Judy Morrissey Richard noted the Stompin’ Tom Festival’s big day is July 1 which, this year, falls on a Sunday. Sunday, she stressed, is the Irish Moss Festival’s big day. It’s when the parade, horse pull pageant-crowning and several other events take place.
With performers already booked for the music festival, Morrissey Richard suggested there is nothing that can be done about the dates now, though.
Still, Council wants to make its position known.
Anne Arsenault, general manager of Tignish Initiatives, expressed surprise with the town’s criticism.
“Everything, from what we understood went over well and there were no complaints,” Arsenault stated.
The music festival last year coincided with the grand opening of the Stompin’ Tom centre.
She admits keeping the music festival on the Canada Day weekend wasn’t initially the plan, but when another music festival, the Stan Rogers (Stanfest) in Canso, NS moved away from that weekend, they reconsidered.
“We decided we would proceed with those dates, given that everything, as far as we knew, from the reports that we had gotten that everything, went well and there were no issues.”
Advised that the Town Council doesn’t share those views, Arsenault said that was never communicated to Tignish Initiatives.
“The only communication I had was positive,” she said, adding that she was not hard to find if council was concerned.
She admits she’s heard “some flutter” since the music festival dates were announced but no one from council has actually expressed concern to her.