EDITORIAL: Rock festival’s growth inspiring

Rock the Shores organizers going about things the right way

So, Rock the Shores 3 is in the books and from most reports it was a rousing success.

The job of staging a massive music festival is not an easy one, and without a doubt, organizers have already been debriefing about what went right and what could be improved upon for next year’s event at West Shore Parks and Recreation.

The gradually increasing attendance from Friday through to Sunday was likely more a factor of musical offerings as anything else. Friday headliner Tom Cochrane, a grizzled veteran of the Canadian pop scene, doesn’t attract the same crowd as newer bands such as Billy Talent or Our Lady Peace, the top acts performing on the subsequent days.

Determining the musical lineup for such a wide-ranging festival can be a difficult challenge on its own.

But perhaps the biggest experiment undertaken this year was not expanding Rock the Shores to three days from two, but allowing patrons of legal drinking age to carry their booze into the all-ages crowd.

Not needing to set up a beer garden to keep the drinkers separated from the non-drinkers clearly made life easier for festival organizer Atomique Productions, but it was also a way for them to prove to liquor officials that they understand their clientele well.

Helped by what appeared to be an expanded police presence to keep a lid on things, Atomique and West Shore Parks and Recreation hosted crowds that were, by and large, well behaved, with a modest 17 arrests made – 15 for being drunk in public. That bodes well for keeping the festival on the site in future.

Unlike other regional festivals that shot themselves in the foot by trying to grow too fast and ultimately running out of money to continue, the Rock the Shores crew have developed their event slowly, but surely since the thunder, lightning and rain-plagued first event in 2012.

It continues to be a positive place for young people and the young at heart to spend some good days in the summer.

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