Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
11:37 AM EDT
2014-07-07 at 15:39

A muddy end

City event supervisor Doug Henry (left) and parks manager Paul Fayrick survey the grounds of the festival area at Prince Arthur
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
City event supervisor Doug Henry (left) and parks manager Paul Fayrick survey the grounds of the festival area at Prince Arthur's Landing after a wet and muddy Thunder Bay Blues Festival.
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The morning after Blues Fest looked more like Woodstock had gone through Marina Park.

Steady Saturday afternoon showers and periods of torrential downpour during portions of Sunday night’s 13th annual Thunder Bay Blues Festival lineup turned much of the festival area at Prince Arthur’s Landing into a mud pit.

City parks manager Paul Fayrick surveyed the scene early Monday afternoon and while he noted the park had seen better days, he was pleasantly surprised there was still large swaths of grass in the middle of the area.

“The ground has taken a bit of a beating but what I’m seeing now is a lot better what I expected to see,” Fayrick said. “I think we’ll be okay for the rest of the summer although the grass is going to have a hard time coming back.”

The hardest hit areas were near the front of the stage, along the lake side sidewalk and back near the picnic area, all of which were turned into mud pits.

The city had improved drainage in the festival area when the site was expanded about seven years ago. Fayrick said the parts that had been worked on held up to the water and traffic well over the weekend.

Sunny skies and windy conditions early on Monday had taken care of much of the standing water that was left after the final note was played Sunday night but city workers are still planning on aerating the grounds over the next couple weeks

Blues Fest marketing manager Trevor Hurtig said even though final attendance numbers were not yet available he expects this year’s edition of the city’s largest music event approached 20,000 attendees.

Overall, he believes the total attendance to be close to last year’s record setting mark.

Hurtig expects the first night crowd to see headliner Melissa Etheridge outdrew the opening night last year and said Sunday’s finale of the Spin Doctors, Serena Ryder and The Wallflowers was comparable to when Great Big Sea and Kim Mitchell closed the 2013 show.

The prime waterfront venue adds to the attractiveness of the festival.

“There are a lot of festivals in other places where it’s literally in a parking lot and it’s very sterile by comparison to the beauty we have here,” he said. “I think as long as the city is committed to working with us we’re committed to being in Marina Park.”

The artists in particular seem to enjoy the atmosphere from playing on the waterfront.

Etheridge tweeted after her sound check, praising the view of the Sleeping Giant and Lake Superior.

Fayrick said the only part of Blues Fest that has the potential to cause more damage than other large events is the need to play during the scheduled times.

“The difference between Blues Fest and Summer in the Parks is we would normally cancel the concert before people had a chance to be out in the park but Blues Fest obviously is going to operate rain or shine,” Fayrick said.

Despite the conditions of the grounds, the wet weather did not put a damper on the festivities.

Hurtig said the rain and muddy grounds did not deter most of the audience from enjoying the acts.

“People seemed to be willing to endure whatever was coming their way and make the best of it and we saw that in a couple of cases with the mud and sliding through it to have a great time,” he said.

As for this week’s Summer in the Parks concert city event supervisor Doug Henry said it will go ahead as scheduled, barring any inclement weather Wednesday evening.


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newsreader says:
Too bad I missed it 'cause I likes music & MUD.
7/8/2014 1:47:47 PM
nvjgu says:
Typical, when it was built I guess the city eng. dept didn't think it would rain. No drainage.
7/8/2014 10:21:07 AM
smartguy83 says:
"The city had improved drainage in the festival area when the site was expanded about seven years ago. Fayrick said the parts that had been worked on held up to the water and traffic well over the weekend."

Well don't you sound a little ridiculous now.
7/8/2014 12:24:36 PM
baffled says:
Appreciate a slow news day people. There was a music festival, people enjoyed it, in spite of poor weather they stayed and enjoyed. The lawn got trampled, it will have to grow back. This is news in Thunder Bay. There really is nothing to debate or discuss. Better a story about a lawn in poor condition from a revenue generating event than one about a local murder, drug bust, or crime ring. Relax. Grass grows.
7/8/2014 8:46:57 AM
bttnk says:
What another great Bluesfest. I enjoyed 2 of 3 days with my family of 5. We really did see a highly unusual amount of rain in the 2 days so this muddy mess is not the norm. Looking forward to more great events in Thunder Bay's entertainment district.
7/8/2014 8:23:42 AM
Curious says:
I would think that once people move into the condo's they will complain about the "noise" and the number of people then the city will move it to the Old Fort. So, it probably won't be held there much longer anyway.
I don't know why they are concerned about the grass there anyway, nothing is really being maintained and the grass is actually weeds.
7/8/2014 8:22:02 AM
glock9 says:
Why not just pave the waterfront with diamonds ?
7/8/2014 5:38:34 AM
Royalflush says:
Might as well pave it over now, because thats where they are going to put the event centre parking lot any way, if it ever gets built.
7/8/2014 12:16:03 AM
tbayfinn says:
Lol Brutus02 and ring of fire dude, your insight is so enlightening.....
7/7/2014 10:34:51 PM
tsb says:
We should just cancel the event. No sense in having something enjoyable to make up for the rest of the time in this crap hole of a city if it means grass is going to be walked on!!!!

Lawns > people.
7/7/2014 9:19:45 PM
Enquirer says:
Ladies and gentlemen....carpenter tsb is back...because he just nailed another post!!!!1111

I think people tend to forget, with all the baiting these news stories do, we do not need to try all that hard to live up to reputation we've become known for around here: Where there is progress, we will be there to slow it. Where there is hope, we will be there to smite it. Where there is logical argument, we will be there with gut feelings.

There is NOTHING good enough here, therefore, the logical next step is to not even try; that is the dangerous first step to grass being muddied. Rain?! Pffft, unlikely!

tsb, I see clearly where you are going with this, and yes, I do accept the position of Vice President of "Friends of the Marina Grassy Spaces" with you leading the helm. Surely there is something in the Magna Carta which we can cite that proves our points!!!111

Grab your noise makers, people! It is time we march to city hall to cancel this event for next year!!!

7/8/2014 12:36:16 PM
realitycheck411 says:
As quoted from the article, "The prime waterfront venue adds to the attractiveness of the festival."

Year after year, this event has been so great for our city. Given the location and popularity, it proves parking is not an issue. I cannot see why the event centre would draw so much criticism about parking when this seems to go off without a (parking) issue from year-to-year.

7/7/2014 7:55:25 PM
Kam River says:
Maybe I am wrong but didn't council just spend $60 million dollars to re do Marina Park.
Why did they not make the Blue Fest Areas slopped so the water ran off the field and on to the road. But for that small amount of money you can not expect the city to plan proper drainage.
The organizers should be commended for doing a great job and a amazing line up.
7/7/2014 7:13:53 PM
Watchmaker says:
I am tired of the City building these welfare lawns. People should be muddying up their own lawns instead of wheezing the juice from the hard working taxpayer of Thunder Bay.

Now, if we had a multipurpose event centre (near Marina Park for instance), the Blues Fest could be in there and we wouldn't have to spend valuable tax dollars on welfare lawns....
7/7/2014 6:14:02 PM
paddlenut says:
Give it a rest and get a life.
7/7/2014 6:02:04 PM
Westfortforever says:
I am sure the sod trucks are already loaded and on the way. Money is no object for the entertainment district.
7/7/2014 6:00:00 PM
smartguy83 says:
No...the article says “I think we’ll be okay for the rest of the summer although the grass is going to have a hard time coming back.”
7/8/2014 12:05:22 PM
cariboukid says:
Why so negative all the time people! It's just grass. Lighten up and enjoy life a little eh? Sheesh!
7/7/2014 5:36:51 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Not to worry , the City is awash in cash just for that area .
7/7/2014 4:30:38 PM
Brutus02 says:

Do they really not think the grassed area will be walked on at an event like this (Seriously)?

Just rip out the rest and resod it. Just add it on to our excessive property tax and utility cost that we pay.
7/7/2014 3:56:03 PM
tbayretiree says:
Where did they say that they didn't expect people to walk on the grassy area? Where did they express any disappointment that people chose to walk on the grass?

Did you even read the article? (seriously)?

It was bad luck with the weather, that's all.
7/7/2014 8:22:23 PM
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