The Regina Folk Festival, as an urban festival, has to deal with the fact that they’re in the middle of the Queen City, using a public park, and as such, the music being performed will be available to anyone who walks by, at least in some form.
I think they’ve always managed this well. Having free day sessions is a great idea, and it doesn’t allow anyone to be bitter because the tickets to see one of their favorite artists are too expensive.
It hasn’t hurt the festival, as far I’ve seen. One of Regina Folk Festival’s greatest accomplishments – and one of the strengths of the Canadian folk festival format – is that they build a solid audience that will show up every year without fail. In Regina, this even translates into sell-out crowds for most of the RFF Concert Series throughout the rest of the year.
The experience of the main stage shows have been reserved for ticket holders in the past. People were always able to see a sliver through the fence or the top of a head over top of the fence or something, but if they want to jostle around for such a minute look, hell, I say they’re welcome to it.
This year, though, the entire layout of the festival has been changed. It looks great – the park feels a lot fuller with this layout, and I’m jazzed to go down to the sessions today and see every square inch packed with people. And this year, the Cenotaph is on the inside of the main stage grounds, so at least we know there won’t be people standing all over that to look in.
Unfortunately, as you can see above, there is a direct eye line from outside the gates to the main stage. No obstruction whatsoever. And there was definitely a large-ish crowd gathered, watching from there.
I’m a big fan of the new design, but we’ll have to see what they can do next year when the Victoria Park redesign is all finished.