coming out of her bandshell


Amongst other craziness the August 14th meeting of Aurora council developed into a battle of the bandstand. 

The bandstand, or more accurately a bandshell that is a publicly owned amenity located at Town Park is used for community events throughout the summer and fall months and until now there really hasn't been any one group coming forward to suggest the prevention of it being used by the community.

The issue was highlighted on pages 18 and 21 of this week's Auroran.

During the Open Forum section of the meeting Jan Freedman, the current chair of the Aurora Farmers Market, took to the mic to speak on the subject of "Music in the park".

Ms. Feedman's bandstanding is from 6:00 – 9:27.

She states that she is both suprised and disapointed that there is a proposal for music to be in town park during the hours of the Farmers Market outside of the music that the Farmers Market runs themselves as a component of their "special" events.

Interesting choice of words.

How is it that the Chair of one organization be surprised that the town, or any other local group would, and should be allowed to book the bandshell when it is free?  Especially considering how successful the town has been in coordinating very successful music performances at the bandshell most recent of note was their concert in the park series that just wrapped.

How could one organization, which claims to be community focused be disappointed that the bandshell be used to promote local talent?

She goes on to say that the issue "discussed at great length".

Really with who?  The town? Marketgoers? Residents that live close to the park?

Nope, just the Farmers Market Executive, which voted unanimously to not support it, not once, but twice.

The reasons she gave were as follows:

1. "The Market doesn't have the capacity."  With only 2 paid employees they are unable to work with other organizations when they wish to use a facility that is on the same location the Farmers Market rents their permits from.

Is this a non-issue?  Did anyone approach the Farmers Market directly and demand their support?

Nice to see how positive the Executive is about working with other partners, especially the town.

2. "The market received a "formal" complaint."  The solution the Executive came up with was not to have music on other than the Market Special Event days and they communicated that to residents.

Um, how does the Jan or anyone on the Farmers Market Excutive believe they have the authority to dictate when music happens in Aurora's Town Park?

3. "Not all vendors want music during market hours."  Interesting, considering the plethora of Special Events that the Farmers Market holds, to which Jan admits does not translate into any business for vendors.

Here's an idea, if The Farmers Market Executive is short on staff and resources why don't they cut the number of "Special" Events that they host and redirect that energy to more appropriate endeavours that will do just that.

Special events can be looked after by the Town, which has proven to be much more capable than the Farmers Market, its current and past managers and whatever pathetic Special Events sub committee they have constituted.

When the item came up for debate Deputy Mayor Abel's motion passed with only Clrs Gaertner and Ballard objecting.

As expected the first of the 4 dates was August 18th, to which the response was much greater than some of the pitiful "special" events the Farmers Market attempts to put on.

In closing her little stint at the mic Jan reinforced to council in a rather huffy way that if the motion to run Music in the Park passes that it will be without the support of the Farmers Market. 

Not unlike the lack of support the Farmers Market made for their own "Special" event this past Saturday : The Council Corn Roast.

As pointed out on Clr. Buck's blog the annual event that is usually located in the park was inexplicable dumped at the end of the market, making one wonder if this was some sort of retribution by The Farmer's Market Executive for not getting their way?

Two days before, Councillor Humphreys was informed organisation  was her job.  On the day, the event was relegated to an out of the way  location. Jan  the Jam Lady chair of the market, friend of  culture centre and jazz cabal but not Council, failed to announce the event. Market patrons had to discover it for themselves.

I have lost respect for the Farmers Market Executive, especially over the past two years where the current and past chair have done an abysmal job of marketing and growing the core business, working with the community and engaging market goers.

They seem to to be exceptionally fractured from the vendors, and what a Farmers market is supposed to be.  Instead they are wrapped up in organizing hokey special events and questionable formalities like their code of conduct at the beginning of this season which was questionably formed as the response to a single incident:

Imagine how successful a cohesive an community based Farmers Marken in Aurora would be if it was organized and led by community focused individuals that encouraged inclusivity and strove to form working partnerships instead of exclusive little elitist cliques.

The only thing park goers, and the community as a whole need to tell Jan and her Farmers Market Executive that support this ongoing string of power tripping is "shut up! The band is playing".

2 thoughts on “coming out of her bandshell

  1. Well said Mr. Watts.

    These arrangements that hand control of public facilities over to private interests are placing council on the fast track to redundancy.

    I’m sure plenty of scorn will be directed at Ms Freedman but this mess is all down to a weak – and getting weaker – council.

    There should be a public reply from council directed at the Farmers Market “executive” clearly stating that the Farmers market exists “at the pleasure” of council and council, with input from staff, will decide on who what when and how public spaces will be used.

    Not holding my breath.

    And I see they still haven’t learned their lesson about waiving fees.
    Still with “A favour to all and to each a favour”.

  2. croozer, thanks for your kind words and welcome to the conversation.

    I also have my doubts if council has learnt any lessons, and would not expect any public response. I do expect that with the recent Jazz+ fiasco and now this blatant Farmers Market snub that members of council that prefer to waffle and sit on the fence ( I would put Thompson, Humfreys and the Mayor in that category) need to come down on one side or the other or look as foolish those that disparage the town.

    Clrs. Thompson, Piri and Humfreys were at the market for the council corn roast, it will be interesting to hear their thoughts when next approached about this “special” event.

    When it comes down to it they can make all the constitutions, rules and layers of beuracracy they want, the market rents their space from the town. Maybe the executive, not the vendors, need a reminder of this.

    The role of “liason” also needs some more definition and scrutiny. There needs to be more transparancy and communication with the market goers and the “executive” and I expect council and their liason can push back if this is the will of council, which needs to come to them from the public.

    My suggestion is to write a very short email stating your disstisfaction and send it to council at large, but as it pertains to the Market specificaly address Clr. Humfreys as she is the liason.

Watts on your mind?

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