SUNDRE — A local artist and organizer of an outdoor concert held near Bergen this past weekend hopes to one day offer a multifaceted cultural event that boasts a broader appeal.
Morton Burke, who with sister Bronte hosted on Saturday, Aug. 28 the live classic rock, blues and motown event called Concert in the Park on his property that is also known as the Bergen Rocks International Sculpture Park, feels there are plenty of opportunities.
“In places where sculpture parks are common, they’re just a central hub for a lot of activities,” Burke said when asked what inspired the siblings’ decision to host the outdoor concert, which featured performances by The Acousticats as well as Canadian blues and roots musician Darren Johnson, who is from Okotoks.
“It’s another activity besides people just coming out to look at the sculptures,” he said about the show.
A sculpture park, he elaborated, has the potential to serve as a cultural hub for any number of artistic events that can appeal to a wide spectrum of people.
However, putting on events that feature of mix of the local arts scene, including for example live music and dance performances as well as painting and photography workshops and exhibitions — all with the backdrop of the sculpture park that also has a stage — would require more collaboration among different groups in the area, he said.
“That’s where I see the arts scene getting really exciting, is when the arts organizations start to cooperate more and put on arts events that are multifaceted,” he said.
“They’re going to end up appealing to more people,” he said about such events, explaining that music fans might for example come to see a band and along the way discover an interest for sculptures.
“You mix all of that together, some people, they’ll come for one thing, and then they’ll learn that they like something else.”
If the numerous independent arts groups and clubs in the Sundre area combined their creative minds to form a sort of regional arts organization, that would enable the ability to coordinate the effort, he said.
“In other communities that I’m involved in, there’ll be like an art council. And they’re the central hub for the painters and the photographers and the dancers and the musicians and the sculptors — everybody. And then, when there’s an event, they all do what they can to help out,” he said.
But that’s looking farther down the proverbial road, he said. For the time being, Burke primarily wanted to test the waters and see how well received the concert would be.
“This one’s a trial,” he said.
“We’ll get a better idea after this one. We’ve never done it before. We’re thinking we might do a kind of a music series next year, every couple of weeks or something throughout the summer,” he said, adding that depends not only on demand but also logistics.
“We got to get a feel for how many people we can actually accommodate and how many cars we can actually park.”
Although the event was not a fundraiser, Burke said they sought only to recoup the costs of hosting the concert, which above and beyond the expense of lining up the entertainment also included an event permit fee from Mountain View County as well as liability insurance coverage.
“It all just adds up,” he said. “We’ll do pretty good to break even.”