A permanent stage in Crawford Bay Park

music-stage-clip-art_414059by Lorna Robin

A public meeting was held in the Community Corner building on December 12 to explore the idea of building a permanent stage in Crawford Bay Park, under the management of the Crawford Bay and District Hall and Park Society.  For “Stage One” committee members   Nick Hodgkinson, John Edwards, Farley Cursons, Paul Hindson, Marion Johnston, Lea Belcourt, and Lorna Robin, this was an opportunity to gather input from various interest groups and to present some ideas and questions.   A goal of having a stage ready for Starbelly Jam and the Kootenay Gutbuster Comedy Show in July 2013 has been set, with plenty of enthusiasm in the community to carry the idea forward.

Interest groups include our local theatre group, dancers, and musicians, who feel that a stage in the park will be used by local performers on a regular basis, and also provide a venue for visiting entertainers.  The park is already popular for family reunions, and a stage will be an additional attraction, providing a suitable roofed area for a wedding or live band.  Our local businesses will benefit if tourists have something more to do that will keep them on the East Shore for a day or two longer. Entertainers that come through on school tours might be tempted to present another public performance.  And of course our two seasonal big events, Starbelly Jam and the Kootenay Gutbuster Comedy Show, will be enhanced in many ways – visually, financially, and by the redirection of many volunteer hours of labour.

Some questions up for consideration:  Should it be a purpose-made bandshell brought in or locally designed and built? Should it be wood, concrete, or a combination?   How high should the stage be and how does that impact safety and insurance concerns?  Would it need to be closed off during the winter months to prevent vandalism and weather related wear and tear?  Should it have a place for instrument lockup / green room (a changing and resting area for performers) / toilets?  What types of design result in the best acoustics?  Should it be built all at once, or a basic stage built with provision for add-ons at a later date?  Will the stage be used enough to justify its cost?   A general consensus is that the stage must be versatile enough to suit many types of user groups in order to maximize use.

Various areas for possible funding assistance  have been identified, but a comprehensive plan must  first be developed.  A business plan will include stage design with time frame and budget, future maintenance costs, and future income commitments from user groups.   Engineering, safety, insurance, local assets that can be used, these must all be investigated.

A questionnaire is being sent out to various interest groups for more input.  Please write or email any ideas or suggestions of your own, or start a conversation with any of the committee members.  For more information or to give your input, contact John Edwards:  johnandjoan@theeastshore.net


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