Monday, August 04, 2008

A Little Pre-Folklorama Ramble

This year's Folklorama motto, "How far will you go?" can be interpreted, oh so many ways. It can be used to describe an unique approach, pushing the limits and maybe going to extreme measures. I doubt this is the case because Folklorama always plays it safe, Pavilions are not allowed to make political statements nor are they allowed to tread in controversial subject matter despite the historical significance (such as the internment of Japanese-Canadians by the Canadian Government) and for Folklorama to push it's limits means trying to attract a younger demographic by holding late-night parties (booze-fest) at select Pavilions since many view Folklorama as a seniors bus tour-type of event.

It can also mean, how many countries (Pavilions) can you see in 2 weeks? I heard a while back that they might bring back the passport pass where you could purchase an all-you-can-see passport for a set amount of $ and you would get each Pavilion's page stamped with a different stamp, sort of like seeing all these different countries. It was a popular idea 10 years ago, but I'm thinking it was too cost worthy for the Folk Art's council to swallow. In the past I remember there was also a Folklorama bus that was free to passport holders that ran a couple of routes from Pavilion to Pavilion. It cut time finding a place to park or if you didn't have a car you didn't have to reply on public transit to find yourself to the Pavilions.

More than likely, "How far will you go" refers to how far will you travel to Winnipeg to see Folklorama (from out-of-town), obviously one of it's major sponsor's Westjet takes delight in this tie-in and other years (maybe this year too, I'm not sure) a contest entrant has received a free flight to anywhere Westjet flies. Yes, the power of the sponsor! I received a list of all the official sponsors that have the exclusive right's to everything from beer, banking institutions, hotel services, soft drinks, and money transfer services...yes, Western Union is the official money transfer service of Folklorama 2008...what the hell? Even at our Pavilion, which is a school the other 358 days in the year, one of the vending machines is covered with paper to cover the fact the machine has "Coke" products inside. All official sponsor signage must be visible in the Pavilion and a two and a half minute CD that again recognizes the sponsors must be played before every show. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with corporate sponsorship, I'm just saying each Pavilion is starting to look like the MTS Centre where the boards, the ice and every inch of the building (including in the bathroom) is plastered with advertising.

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