SOM parade route not going to be what it could have been; is there trouble in paradise?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 31, 2013.  Things have never been really smooth between the Sound of Music people and city hall; there is always something those two are squabbling about.  If it isn’t parking spaces for the SOM people then they differ over who is going to pay for what – this year that what are the fireworks.  The city feels they are doing the SOM people a big favour by allowing the fireworks to be done on the brand new pier – saving SOM the cost of getting a barge.

SOM is getting the feeling they are being hustled by the city and that there event is being used to draw crowds for the opening of the pier.

Mayor Rick Golding did say the city was going to horn in on the Sound of Music to open the pier – maybe the Mayor thought the music festival is what would draw the crowds for the two opening events that are going to take place.  With a lot of noise and fireworks (no balloons we are advised) the public might get moved into an oooh and awe mood and forget just how much,  what was for a time, called the “mistake on the lake”

At this point, weeks before the opening of the pier and the kickoff of the Sound of Music, which begins with a  parade the city and the SOM people are differing over the actual parade route.

Sound of Music volunteers marking locations for vendor booths – 800 people volunteer to make this happen.

The SOM people had hoped the event would come into the core via James Street and swing south along Brant to Lakeshore and proceed west along Lakeshore and then have the Burlington Teen Tour Band part of the parade make a u-turn and get back to Brant Street and swing south into Spencer Smith Park and out onto the pier.

That idea, much to the dismay we are told of the SOM people, has not gotten any traction and so the parade will now come into the core via James Street and go north on Brant and end at Caroline.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association is apparently miffed as well – there members were hoping for something more dramatic.

Maybe the city didn’t want SOM going out on the pier until it was officially opened and before our MP Mike Wallace gets to tell the folks who elected him just how much he has done for them.   And he has done a lot.

Is this just another squabble between the city and the Sound of Music?  One would think that an organization that drives millions into the local economy would have a stronger working relationship with the city.  Is it the city that is being difficult or is it the SOM management that doesn’t know how to manage?

There are hundreds of volunteers who make SOM happen.  One would think that the management skills needed to make that work would be more than capable of getting along with city hall.  Are they both not on the same page.

Something to look into in the future.

The Sound of Music was an event started by the city more than 30 years ago.  In 1998 city hall realized they couldn’t manage a task of this magnitude and spun it off in 1998 to a newly incorporated community group that was called the Sound of Music Festival Inc.  It was as bit of a grind in the early years but they have grown the business and today the event is one of the top ranked things to take in.

It is Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival. More than 200,000 people enjoy the biggest annual gathering of music by the lake and enjoy free concerts spanning all genres.

A bit dated perhaps – but still a great group – something for the parents?

The Festival Kick-off is on Friday June 7th, on Burlington Hyundai Community Stage including performers Honeymoon Suite ( and The Spoons (

Opening night, Thursday June 13th, on Festival Stage, features Toronto natives Down With Webster (

Friday evening at OLG Stage boasts Jully Black (, and Big Wreck ( at Festival Stage. Danny Fernandes ( is co-headlining with Alyssa Reid ( on Burlington Hyundai Stage.

Burlington’s own – The Spoons – they were part of the opening of the Performing Arts Centre. Nice to see them back in town.

Saturday afternoon, on Festival Stage, are illScarlett ( and USS (, followed in the evening by LIGHTS ( It’s Country all day long over on OLG stage, in the afternoon is Small Town Pistols (, the evening line-up features Doc Walker ( Sharon & Bram are taking the stage Saturday afternoon at Burlington Hyundai Stage and see Royal Wood ( downtown at Cogeco Stage.

Sunday’s performers include Platinum Blonde (,April Wine( and 54-40 ( on Festival stage. Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace ( will be on OLG Stage.

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