Event overload? Too much of a good thing?

John Devitt

Just a few short years ago, if you were looking for something to do one night in Revelstoke, you’d be hard pressed to find anything.  There were always lots of daytime events, grassroots activities for families with young children, but generally the nightlife scene was pretty dismal.  Unless you counted cheap wings or cheap beer as an “event”, you were left with very few options.  In the rare case there was something going on other than a guy pressing play on an iPod, it was just as difficult to find the info about it.  There was no central “clearing house” of information to find out what was happening.

Flash forwards a couple of years and the Revy scene could not be more different.  As visitors continue to flood into town at ever-increasing rates each season, the development of entertaining diversions has exponentially amplified.  Helpfully, the number of locations you can find information about an event has also improved.  More and more businesses and associations are finally embracing the social media reality (it was a “trend” in 2004, since it still exists eight years later, you can no longer call it a “trend”) giving live feeds of up to date event information.  You can also access up to date event info from either of our radio stations, newspapers, the Stoke List and more.

With all of these developments the culture of Revelstoke is changing at a rapid pace.  Live music, which was a rare occasion in the past, has become nearly a daily circumstance, with practically every pub in town bringing in DJs, bands, or stand up comedians.  Like it or not, Revelstoke nightlife is blowing up.  From a vacuum of nearly no nightlife a few years ago, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme.  But are we over saturated now?  Can we attend everything that’s going on?

The recent Spirit Festival boasted over 60 events throughout town.  While immensely successful with some great events, it equally had less stellar, poorly attended events such as the Outhouse Races.  Some people in town have said the Festival was diluted with too many events and that people simply couldn’t decide which to attend.  Is this a case of too much of a good thing?  Are all these events focused on quality, or is it simply about quantity?

Revelstoke is a resort community, a place where people come to have a vacation and be entertained for some time before returning home.  This requires a diverse and plentiful offering of experiences, quantity over quality.  Great for our visitors; Revelstoke is a happening place all of a sudden, but for those of us that live here permanently we are faced with an overabundance of events.  Are we being trained to live outside the norm and go the bar every night of the week?  If we don’t attend that random folk music performance or show up when DJ AWESOM-O spins, are we abandoning our friends and favourite businesses?  We are constantly told to shop local, support business and support community group X.  If we don’t make it there every time, are we betraying our Revelstoke values?  What happens to the locals when they can’t get out every night to every thing?  If you stopped in for an Open Mic night during the summer last year, you’d know.  There wasn’t one.

I talked to a friend in the hospitality industry who suggested maybe there are too many bars in Revelstoke for the number of people who live here year round.  He figures it’s the right number in the winter season for all our visitors, but summer time it’s like a ghost town.  It means that the pubs and bars need to step up their game and compete more with each other to get customers through the door.

Pendulums generally swing back and forth awhile before finding a balance in the middle, and whether you think there are too many events or too few, at least these days we have options.  Take this past Tuesday for example; cheap beer night at the Regent, trivia at the Drop, or a metal show at the Eddy, there was something for everyone.  With all this competition, perhaps it will only be a matter of time until we see more and more quality events rising to the top over the “quantity” events.  Amidst the clutter the cream is already rising and we may as well enjoy what we have before the calm of the summer.