Sound investment in Canal Bank Shuffle
By LORI LITTLETON,
ST. CATHARINES STANDARD
Organizers of the Canal Bank Shuffle have received more than $17,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which they hope will help grow their annual blues festival.
Bob Liddycoat, who sits on the festival's board of directors, said the shuffle recently received a $17,900 grant to purchase new sound equipment.
"Last year, I was standing in a lineup at the festival and it hit me. What are we going to do next year? How can we top this?" he said. "The idea for the grant was to attract bigger name bands and acts. We can't grow in terms of venues. The way to grow is through better acts, and to do that, we needed brand new equipment."
This year will be the ninth instalment of the festival, which will take place Oct. 21-23, at various venues in downtown Thorold. Since its inception, the festival, which is a non-profit organization, has donated more than $100,000 to local charities and other nonprofit groups.
Each fall, about 20-30 bands perform over the three days and tickets cost $15 to access all venues.
Some of this year's featured performers include Guitar Shorty, David Gogo, Scott Holt, J.P. Soars and the Red Hots, who won the 2009 Memphis International Blues Challenge, Harper, David Rotundo, Jerome Godboo and Krista Blondin. Despite receiving the grant, Liddycoat said festival organizers are still looking for community support through sponsorships.
"That doesn't mean we need less sponsorship," he said. "It means we need more. It's one thing to have the equipment but we have to pay (the performers). It's creating work for us, but in a good way."
The Canal Bank Shuffle has also run a smaller spring version for the past three years, but this year, the timing wasn't right, Liddycoat said. The venues couldn't confirm dates in time to run the festival.
"With this (grant money) we're certainly hoping to grow into bigger and better. Last year, we set a real high standard, but I think we can beat that this year," he said.