Shouting Back

I received the following email today, presumably in response to this sort of search result:

What a shame that, when I typed in the name of the Charlottetown festival, I came up with your rant. Not very welcoming for us tourists… or our money.

Here’s how I replied:

Thank you for your note.
The web is a rich and diverse place; that’s what makes it so great.
It means that if a well-funded organization, like our Capital Commission, pours money into promoting and advertising an event that will take over our neighbourhood, “we the people” have an outlet to shout back.
In this light, I’m extremely happy that you found my blog post: it means the shouting back is working.
In terms of your tourism dollars: I’m curious to know why you don’t welcome the opportunity to learn more about how your dollars will impact the local community you choose to visit.
You are, of course, welcome to visit Charlottetown — we would love to have you (and your money). But *how* you visit is important: if you visit to support a rock festival that adversely affects our neighbourhood, then I would argue that your tourism might be doing more harm than good.
I think I have a *responsibility* to tell you that you might annoy me, and adversely affect the quality of life of my family and I, through your actions.

My correspondent replied (bless her heart):

All very true. And well said. Food for thought.


Lou Quillio's picture
Lou Quillio on June 16, 2005 - 23:00 Permalink

This reminds me of those insane (or brilliant?) AOL ads: “You wanted a better Internet, and we built it.” Or some such. Keeps folks thinking this whole Web-thing is some kind of two-way TV, overseen by government or Bill Gates or another benevolent force.

Somebody’s in charge, right?”

Yes, dear, somebody’s in charge. AOL.”

Good, ‘cuz can you imagine if they let people make “I Hate New York” websites when Governor Pataki is spending our tax dollars on “I Love New York? That would be wrong.”

AOL won’t let them, don’t worry.”

Okay, that’s a relief. Do you want me to keep rubbing it, or should we just go to sleep?”

Good night, dear.”


Ann's picture
Ann on June 16, 2005 - 23:49 Permalink

Oh dear.

I have a terrible suspicion that that poor lady might have been looking up information on the Charlottetown Festival (at the Conferation Centre) as opposed to the Charlottetown Festival of Lights.

That being the case, you have basically just told her that Anne of Green Gables (the musical) is ruining your neighbourhood.

Not so! If you (the lady) are reading this, I want you to know that we all love the Charlottetown Festival — we all take our out of town visitors to see Anne and that our good friend Peter just goes a little off kilter when he hears the word festival because of ANOTHER festival he doesn’t like.

So please come to PEI. You wil;l have a nice time and, generally, people won’t go aboard you because of your entertainmemnt choices.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 17, 2005 - 13:17 Permalink

Ann, you can rest easy: the title of the original email was “festival of lights,” so I am confident that our plucky Anne will remain unsullied by any of this.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on June 17, 2005 - 18:52 Permalink

Why can’t we just go back to calling it “Canada Day” (or I vaguely remember it being Dominion Day pre-1982). We had hot dogs and barbeques and kids games in Victoria Park and topped it off with a 15-20 minute fireworks display like most other communities of similar size in this country. Why make a 4-5 day “festival” out of something which always used to work quite well? Sometimes I wish Texaco never left their tank farm and Confederation Landing Park was still waterfront industrial land.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on June 18, 2005 - 06:50 Permalink

During a short, and mutually un-fulfilling, stint at the Confed Centre several years ago, I was astonished at the number who toil within were openly, if quietly, hostile to Anne or anything the public actually seems to like. I absolutely _love_ musicals (can’t really explain that) but that was far from a universal sentiment at the CC.

Many would release their most rancid bile for “Anne” (which is a bit smultzy even for a dweeb like me). But, and this may well be due largely to David “they named a building after me” MacKenzie, the mood may be quite different over there these days.

I could, and perhaps should, write a book on the skullduggery that transpired over just five months; there was sex (and not the good kind), there was forgery (and not the good kind), there was board manipulation (and not the good kind); there were factions, actions, and hatchet jobs; firings, resignations, and lampooning cartoons in the paper… it was quite a summer! It was the year the board (under God-knows-what influence) lowered their Howitzer to a parallel angle and fired directly at the centre of Arts Atlantic Magazine, I guess they thought it a smelly little rag — for which, former editor, Joe Sherman was recently inducted in to the Order of Canada no less. And it was the year they “set fire” to the Art Gallery — and there weren’t enough tears to put out the fire!

Ahhh, the good ol’ daze :)

Ann's picture
Ann on June 19, 2005 - 00:04 Permalink

I’m with Marcus on this — not because I object to the festival because, even though I hear every note, I don’t.

A few years ago Canada Day in Victoria Park was a multi-cultural event…lots of great food in the tents and singers and dancers on the little stage. people hung out or played frisbee or ate and watched the harbour and listened to music. Without being too corny about it, it made me happy and proud of the country I have chosen to live in.

I think we could still have the festival of lights (after all, how else would they get the money to keep Founder’s Hall open?). But move it to another day (sorry, Pete) and let’s just have a plain, fun Canada Day. The Festival of Lights is too American for our national holiday. Plus, when the fireworks were at Victoria Park, there were lots of places to see them and you didn’t have to funnel in to two little streets to get a decent view.