Longevity John Falkner, left, artistic director for the 39 Days of July, and operations manager Trevor Linde go over details of the event’s final days this year. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Longevity John Falkner, left, artistic director for the 39 Days of July, and operations manager Trevor Linde go over details of the event’s final days this year. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Cowichan’s 39 Days of July deemed a success, despite COVID-19

Musical productions live streamed from the Duncan Showroom this year

With just a few days left in the 39 Days of July, organizer Longevity John Falkner said the event so far this year has been tremendous.

But it didn’t start that way.

Falkner, considered the leading founder of the popular nine-year-old annual event, which usually consists of a series of outdoor musical events primarily at venues in Charles Hoey Park and City Square in Duncan, said the Duncan Cowichan Festival Society had this year’s 39 Days of July almost completely organized by the middle of March.

But that changed with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new rules around social distancing that don’t allow the gathering of large crowds for musical performances that the event typically depends on.

RELATED STORY: 39 DAYS OF JULY TRANSITIONS TO ONLINE SHOWS FOR 2020

“By March 15, we had to throw all that away and start all over again,” Falkner said.

“But the decision to live-stream the musical performances in the 39 Days of July from the Duncan Showroom stage was a marvelous idea. We knew we had to give up the ‘community-gathering feeling’ at the event this year, but we discovered a much more broad way to connect with people through live streaming and we had people watch from all over the world, proving that Duncan is a fun place to be.”

The Duncan Showroom, a well-respected music venue located in the heart of downtown Duncan and operated by Falkner, has more than 2,000 live streamed concerts already archived on its YouTube channel that were produced over an eight year period, and organizers of the 39 Days of July were confident they could still fill the event’s musical roster, despite the ongoing health crisis.

“We had to cut about 50 to 60 mostly afternoon spots during the event this year, but we filled 290 spots from the original 345 and that worked remarkably well for us,” Falkner said.

“The 39 Days of July usually capitalized on musicians on tour who would play here between their other venues, but most tours were cancelled this year so we had to focus on artists from Vancouver Island and it was great to showcase just how much talent there is here.”

Falkner said the live-stream format worked well for the musicians who had their performances shown across the world.

“As for the viewers, the live-streaming format has proven to us that people enjoy having music delivered to them at a time of their choice,” he said.

“Before, they would look at the schedule of performances for the 39 Days of July and see a show they would like to see, but would have to miss it because of other commitments. Now they can watch it anytime they like from their own living rooms, or anywhere else where they can see it live streamed.”

Falkner said it’s still too early to determine what the status of the pandemic will be next year, but even if the 39 Days of July is able to return to its more traditional venues in public parks, he’s sure live streaming will continue to play a part in the event in future years.

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN APPROVES GRANT FOR 39 DAYS OF JULY

He said the Wine Down Wednesday’s part of the event will run through August, as usual, in cooperation with local wineries, but live-streaming will also be used for the musical productions.

“On Wednesday evenings in August, we’ll be supplying music that goes with wine tasting, and we’re is discussions with a number of local wineries about it,” Falkner said.

“We’ve already confirmed we’ll be working with the Old Firehouse Wine Bar and supplying a visual and audio feed of the music being performed in the Showroom to their extended patio/parking lot patio from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 5, 12, 18, and 26. Reservations are recommended.”

Falkner said planning also continues for the 40th Day of July event, which will also be live streamed on Sept. 6, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“We’re certainly having the time of our lives this year,” he said.

“COVID-19 was actually a blessing in disguise for us because it allowed us the whole new freedom of providing musical performances with no restraints to new genres that we wouldn’t be able to in an outdoor show meant mostly for families.”

But Falkner said one of his few complaints this year is the lack of access of the live streaming to seniors and those with special needs.

“We’re trying to find ways, and the Showroom will be broadcasting the Special Woodstock music festival for those with special needs on Aug. 16,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Entertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

Chris Wilkinson
Chris Wilkinson column: Time to slow down to speed up

In a society where we learn (are forced?) to multitask like crazy

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Shawnigan Lake School. (Citizen file photo)
UPDATED: Island Health reports COVID-19 exposure at Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School has been added to the list of schools in… Continue reading

Peas are great to grow in the garden, but a trellis for them in an A frame shape will offer more portability and wind resistance. (Citizen file)
Mary Lowther column: Making a foldable pea trellis on winter agenda

My previous methods required starting anew every spring

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read