Elly on the Arts: Come on and jam - Blueberry Jam

This column is our last chance to share the wonder that is going to be, as it was last year, Blueberry Jam Music Gathering.

Anyone who was there in 2018 (and there were lots, over 1,000 attendees by some estimations) knows how much fun it was. Such a great atmosphere was created with all the bands and solo musicians from Flin Flon, Creighton, Denare Beach, The Pas, Snow Lake and even a few from far away places like Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary.

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There has been a lot of research done in the social sciences about the social impact of festivals. Just this year Pavlukovic (2019) and colleagues identified social benefits and costs associated with music festival attendance. They found that festivals are emerging as a fast-growing sector of the tourism and leisure industry and can have a significant impact on their host communities. Key factors behind the growth of festivals are largely due to their potential of development in terms of destination repositioning, revitalization and economic restructuring and, more importantly, the potential of initiating a legacy. They developed a list of the positives that includes:

• increased tourism

• promotion of a city and/ or culture

• contribution to the local economy

• providing employment

• increasing the standard of living

• more money to improve or maintain the environment

• money to maintain cultural heritage

• increased cross-cultural knowledge and understanding

Last year a researcher named Sylvia Kwok published a study on the impact of music on adolescent anxiety. She found that integrating hope and emotional intelligence with music therapy had four promising effects. Young people experienced more hope, emotional competence, and subjective happiness. They also experienced significant decreases in anxiety.

We believe that the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering has the potential to do all of these good things for Flin Flon and area even though it is still in its infancy. It likely has a lot of growing and maybe some changing to do but it is already a wonderful event so come on out on Thursday, August 8 to Johnny’s Social Club (before 6:45 p.m. to get a seat) then to the Flinty Campground on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the show. Gates open at the site one hour before the music starts and start times are Friday, August 9 at 4 p.m., Saturday, August 10 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, August 11 at 11 a.m.

Blueberry Jam has been planned to be free and easy. When you arrive at the site, get a bracelet on your wrist, so that the organizers can have an accurate count of the attendees. Get one for your kids too. Different colours are available for each day so don’t take them off (you can shower in them)! Bring a non-perishable food item for the Lord’s Bounty Food Bank, there will be a collection box at the gate. There will be chalkboards on site with a schedule of the acts playing at each venue to help you choose where you want to go within the festival site.

There will be food and other vendors available during the weekend and all kinds of Blueberry Jam merchandise for sale so you may want to bring a bit of money to spend. There will also be a beer garden close to Main Stage and bars in the Rotary Wheel and in Johnny’s Social Club. The festival is very aware of being green and has compostable cups for the bars. Please be aware of any trash and take away more than you bring! Hope to see you all there and having fun!

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