Medicine Hat Rotary will try for in-person festival
Music lovers in the city have something to look forward to next year.
The Rotary Music Festival announced it is going forward with plans for live performances next year, with limited, in-person audiences through most of March.
The festival is planning for live shows from March 7-21, which would feature some of the city’s most talented musicians.
“We have 36 festivals in Alberta and people have had to start making decisions on which way they’re going to go with their festival,” said Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival executive director Delynne Lorentzen. “I believe we’re one of six who have decided on an in-person festival. Most of them are going virtual.
“We believe we can do this in a way that keeps everyone safe and give people a chance to perform in person.”
Lorentzen added that the online shows are simply not as good – for anyone.
“They just don’t compare to in-person shows,” she said. “The online stuff is exhausting and when you add music into the mix, it’s just sub par.
“Performing in front of an audience, your peers and an adjudicator – there’s really no comparison to a recording.
“Performers get energy from the audience, and that’s something you can’t replace.”
Lorentzen says the group is planning under the assumption that COVID-19 restrictions will stay the same or ease up.
“They could get worse, but the city has been good so far and we want to go for it,” she said. “We’re going to have designated entrances and exits, and we’re going to have places to sanitize.
“If things change for the better, great. But right now we’re going to be requiring masks to enter. If things get worse, we’ll deal with it as it happens and make safe choices for everyone.
“We’re going to be following Alberta Health Services guidelines closely.”
The festival will operate like other years, with shows at the Cultural Centre and some at the Medicine Hat College theatre.
“We basically only have one venue, which makes this pretty straight forward,” said Lorentzen. “It’s going to be more expensive than previous years, and we’re going to need a lot of volunteers, but we can make this work.”
The 2021 festival will have fewer performers because some groups are not able to gather and rehearse under current health guidelines.
The Rose Bowl and other large shows will remain free, but tickets will be given out so limited seating can happen in an organized way.
Choral groups will not be performing, nor will orchestras or bands.
Brass and woodwind are in question over their ability to be safely performed in front of an audience.
Solo performers will be back and ready to steal the stage.
“The reaction I’m getting is enthusiastic,” said Lorentzen. “People I’ve heard from are just thankful that we’re trying to make this work.”
Lorentzen says there is going to be a huge need for volunteers this year. More information can be found on the Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival Facebook page.