Even the weather was no obstacle 0
Christopher Coyea, a tenor who has performed with the Canadian Opera Company, sings selections from Shakespeare in Song, the classical matinee performed at the Deep River Yacht Club on Sunday, part of Summerfest 2012. The performances were of songs based on the works of Shakespeare.
DEEP RIVER – Once again, the sun has set on another successful Summerfest.
Deep River’s bi-annual celebration of the arts, sports and entertainment, which encompasses everything for every taste from classical music and Shakespeare sung as opera to the latest in rock and electronic music, plus a myriad of activities to satisfy any curious intellect, went off well despite the challenges of the weather.
Summerfest 2012 chairman Saulius Filderis said he worried about the weather throughout the festival, even ordering 50 per cent more tentage than any previous Summerfest. His foresight saved Thursday’s events, which were threatened with being washed away by heavy downpours.
“Everyone was able to huddle under the extra tents to wait until the rain passed,” he said. Sunday was also a wet day, while Saturday nearly set records for high temperatures.
Overall, the challenges didn’t hurt the festival at all; on the contrary.
“Attendance was way up compared to other Summerfests,” Mr. Filderis said. “Things greatly exceeded our expectations.”
The four-day event wrapped up in grand style Sunday evening, with performances by the legendary Canadian rock band 54-40, the popular and funny Arrogant Worms, Carlos Del Junco and The Blues Mongrels, and Hinterlandband, which boasts in its membership Pembroke’s own Jordan Zadorozny.
Mr. Filderis said one thing Summerfest is able to do consistently is amaze its performers. Few of the bigger acts really know what to expect from playing in Deep River, and they are always pleasantly surprised by the end result.
“All of our performers were able to perform the way they wanted to,” he said.
He noted it is interesting to see bands performing sound checks to an empty field, and have every one of them wonder if this is going to work out or not.
“Come the evening, they walk out on stage and are amazed to see 3,500 people standing in front of them.”
Mr. Filderis said Friday’s electronic music show was a first for Summerfest, and it was a huge hit. DJ Lazy Rich, the main performer, commented later it was 10 times the gig he was expecting, and was superior in a lot of ways to larger venues at which he is used to playing.
While some of the older crowds were less than impressed, they had their own thing at the Deep River Yacht Club where they were treated to music from the 1960s to 1980s as part of the Mackenzie High School reunion, which went over well.
Saturday was all local performers, eight sets to be precise, and that too went off without a hitch.
Early Sunday afternoon, on the other end of the spectrum, there was a classical matinee of Shakespeare in Song, also held at the Yacht Club where fans of opera were treated to a medley of performances based on Shakespeare’s works.
“All of these pieces and more all came together wonderfully,” Mr. Filderis said, and based on the feedback, the overall program was well received.
“People are beginning to get a sense of ownership of Summerfest,” he said, and offer constructive comments, showing they all want to see it continue to grow and improve.
“We have more than 400 volunteers who keep coming back,” the event chairman said, adding their experience is invaluable in keeping everything running smoothly.
Next week the organizers will be holding a “lessons learned” barbecue to go over the event and see what worked and where it needs tweaking. Mr. Filderis said work is already proceeding for 2014, with two acts already pre-booked, and planning has begun to get an international food court up and running.
“There were a few things which didn’t work out, but overall we’re extremely happy with how this turned out,” he said.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist