The Americanization of Prince Edward Island

 PEI lavishes $3 million on US culture while throwing scraps off the table at local artists

Taylor Swift at Cavendish Beach Music Festival, $3.5 million for "come from away" talent

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival starts today, a five day extravaganza of American country music. Big US artists like Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, a few Canadian acts and even fewer Island artists thrown in as tokens will entertain the tourists and locals. Cost to the taxpayers $2 million this year and last.
We just got finished with a 4 day Cirque du Soleil festival. Sure they are from Montreal but this is really a Los Vegas act, certainly not local PEI talent. Cost to the taxpayer $250,000 to $500,000.  Next week, we are importing US talk show hosts Regis and Kelly at a cost of $1 million plus.
Add it all together that comes to $3.5 million spent to fund cultural events on PEI for the tourists with almost zero Island culture. Or is the money being spent to entertain voters prior to the next election?
The Province did put up $300,000 over three years to kick start the Festival of Small Halls which is all about Island artists and talent. The total commitment to promoting Island artists is 1/10th the money spent on big name acts from away.  
Do tourists come to PEI to see Las Vegas Island? Or perhaps they are looking for Nashville North? New York by the Sea?
There is nothing wrong with Cavendish and country music, or Cirque du Soleil and Regis and Kelley. If they are that good, they should be able to support themselves.  The government needs to support local industry so we have a tourist product for years to come.
The painful fact is most local artists are starving. Local venues are in desperate need of support. The government suffers from an acute lack of self-esteem and appreciation for Island artists and how to support their development.

Click HERE to read more columns by Stephan Pate.

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1 Comment

  1. Yes, PEI should be supporting local artists, as in artists from the Maritimes. But as for artists from the remainder of Canada, who cares? Canada and the US are very similar countries with very similar cultures.

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