there is such thing as a free launch

This morning, I attended the official launch for Westfest, held at the Clocktower in Westboro.

Such launches remain a minor source of fascination for me, as the days when an official festival launch revealed closely guarded secrets are long gone. When “the moment you’ve all been waiting for” arrived, attendees could have told organizers we’d already read and heard all about the impressive lineup that will see Sarah Harmer and Lynn Miles headlining the two-night street festival, June 13 and 14.

Yet, such launches continue to happen, in part to give a taste of what to expect (two performers were onhand to play for us) and in larger part to take a few minutes to publicly thank sponsors. In the case of Westfest, the city’s favourite free festival, that list is a lengthy one. And it was greeted with some enthusiasm by those present — one particularly enthusiastic and very vocal woman unable to contain her fondness for such businesses as Tubman Funeral Homes and the Real Canadian Superstore. There was many a yelp of “Wooh!” during the proceedings — all from the same woman.

I want her at my next press launch.

Not that people propping up Westfest don’t deserve props. A free festival? In Ottawa? Yes, please. And thank you.

A good cause. Good tunes. A good time had by all.

The bad news, though, for the trendy and in one case top-hatted Westfest supporters was that, as the launch was taking place at 10 a.m., there was no free beer. Free coffee and snacks, yes. So it was not a total loss. And the entertainment was nice. Moreover, the speeches by sponsors’ representatives were refreshingly brief. Also, I cannot recall hearing a City Councillor describe an event’s design as “totally awesome” at any of the many previous launches I’ve attended.

So there’s that. Plus free food and drink.

Back in the day, I toyed with the idea of including in our now-defunct local newsweekly’s listings, mention of which vernissages and other press-friendly events might offer free booze and food. After all, if you act like you belong there, you do. I never went through with it, of course, because I recognized that I would never again be invited to a press launch. And that would be my loss.

Not that I was invited to today’s launch, as such. Well, I was invited, sort of on behalf of CKCU (a sponsor of Westfest, by the way — Wooh!), but only by a colleague. It was fun to see a few familiar faces, though. And I’m liking what I heard (and had already read) about this year’s festival.

So sure, I’m always up for a good press launch. If you’re planning one, I’m happy to attend.

Even if there’s no free beer.

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Filed under Music, Ottawa

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