Awful, Horrible, Terrible - Take Your Pick

So today I went to the DownHome Show with Nick and Nikki.

Oh my freaking god. It was HORRIBLE.

Ok, I have to preface this by informing those of you who may not know that I grew up in the Maritimes. So you know, I know what DownHome is about. And let me tell you - what I saw today so is not it.

To begin with when we got there a bit after 2:30, in plenty of time to see the listed 3pm entertainment, we found out that they had just finished it!!! They decided to lump it together with an early show. We were asked if we wanted to not go in based on that but we decided to pay our $15 each and go ahead.

Big mistake.

You see, from where you pay you cannot see inside. When we got inside there was NOTHING. Ok, not nothing. But pretty darned close to it. There was a table selling food and drink tickets. There was the food table. I'm sorry but since when is Vienna sausage Maritime food??? And salt beef??? Maybe, maybe there is some salt beef thing I'm unaware of but Vienna Sausage??? There was a beer tent. There were 3 booths: one selling some sort of raffle ticket, one selling "festival" t-shirts, and one for the Marijuana Party of Canada. And there was a stage for performers. During the day today the only performers were a couple of guys from the Trailer Park Boys. And that was it.

This is Atlantic Canada??? I think not!

We were so disappointed that we went to speak to an organizer. He asked us if we had only come to see the entertainment. When we said there wasn't really anything else there he made excuses and was an ass. He persuaded us to stay saying the entertainment would be back on stage soon. So we grudgingly got a beer ticket and sat to wait.

When the entertainment started the organizer came over to us and told us that they were going to do a fuller show "just for us". This did not impress us. We merely wanted to see what was on the schedule. The idea that this guy was doing us a "favour" was extremely condescending. And the truth is, he HAD to put something on stage because we were not the only ones who were less than happy at this point. We were doubly unimpressed when he got on stage and said that they were doing this for the people who had arrived “late” and missed the earlier show. We were not late. We were more than on time for what was on the schedule that they had posted. We watched the show and left right before the very end.

Unfortunately we had to walk by the organizer in order to get out the event. He asked us if we were leaving "already". By that point we had been there for 1.5 hours and were bored senseless. He offered to give us free passes to the next day so we could see the bologna eating contest. We declined. He made more excuses. We were too frustrated to argue.

I have to say I left there very depressed. Looking at the schedule last night's entertainment was the "DownHome Pagent" where woman paraded in bikinis and had to bait a hook with gummy worms. Today it was the Trailer Park Boys day. Tomorrow it's comedians and a bologna eating contest. There's a Marijuana Party booth. There's bad food. And there's a beer tent. And that people, is apparently Atlantic Canada according to these people.

Let me tell you - that is NOT Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canada is an absolutely beautiful region. There's hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sport fishing. There’s golf (a lot of golf).There are theatre festivals. There are amazing musicians (other than Great Big Sea although that is all they seemed to play at this thing). There are some truly excellent authors. There’s the whole rich Acadian culture which was totally absent at this event. There’s amazing food (that does not involve Vienna sausage). There are amazing entertainers. There are amazing people.

The DownHome show has so much potential. Unfortunately the organizers felt the need to take a portion of the population and make a caricature of it. And apparently they also felt that having some performers on stage every couple of hours and a beer tent in the meantime would suffice. I do want to say that the performers did do a good job but they should not have to carry the whole event and there ought to be stuff for people to do when there are not performers on stage. Other than drink beer. I honestly would be very surprised to find out that the organizers had ever even BEEN to Atlantic Canada.

A press release described this event as “irreverent three-day festival that celebrates East Coast music, food, culture and arts”. Sadly I didn’t see much of any of the above. I left this event bitterly disappointed. I will not recommend this event to anyone.

I will be writing the organizers (and possibly others) a letter expressing my disappointment with this event.