Editorial: Retool over rot
June 22, 2011
Congrats, organizers. The 12th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous was a success, and you deserve kudos for your efforts in providing the community with a notable event. But, to build off Whittle’s established popularity, the festival needs tweaks here and there so it doesn’t become stale. The Editorial Board has an idea that could freshen it up.
The sawdust has settled and the verdict, at least in the Editorial Board's eyes, is in: the latest offering from the annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous was a success.
We commend organizers of the 12th annual event for their work in giving the Craig and Moffat County community a fun, signature event that's also building an audience on the Western Slope.
The City of Craig also deserves a compliment for recognizing the event's importance and providing money necessary to host the event.
That being said, the Editorial Board has an idea on how to enhance Whittle the Wood so it doesn't become formulaic, without deviating from the established game plan too much.
That idea is building off Whittle the Wood's musical offerings.
Today, the event is known as a platform for wood carvers to display their creativity and artistry over several days during the work week. The culmination comes Saturday when winners are announced and musical acts perform. As of now, aside from people interested in the carvers' progress the first few days, most of the public comes out only Saturday.
That leaves three days — carvers begin working Wednesday — that many people aren't attending. It's those three days and a bigger Saturday where using our idea — making Whittle the Wood an event equally tailored as a musical festival — could bring out more residents and draw more out-of-towners.
For the last couple of years, organizers have brought in bands with modest (to put it kindly) name recognition to perform for the event finale.
Organizers aren't at fault for the lack of star power — they're limited by money, the size of the event and that it's free to the public, meaning it doesn't generate money through ticket sales.
So, what if, instead of stacking the deck and spending a decent sum on one or two bands, the event retools and brings in numerous bands to perform over a few days, spreading out available funds?
The event could begin earlier in the week with local bands and graduate to more professional, more polished acts throughout the day Saturday.
We're guessing there's no shortage of area bands that would jump at the opportunity to perform in front of Whittle crowds on, say, a Friday afternoon and into the evening in their own backyards, or close to them.
We're also guessing the same could be said for a number of Colorado-based bands that would love the chance to perform Saturday before bigger crowds, providing exposure up-and-coming acts need.
And, these bands could most likely be had for a reasonable price, giving the event more musical volume in terms of entertainment time and variety.
As we said earlier, this isn't a condemnation on the event as it stands now, it's simply an idea we believe worth pursuing lest Whittle the Wood slowly become the same old event each year, slowly waning in local and outside interest.
We've seen this happen to other events, both in our community and others, and we believe Whittle deserves better.
A freshening up of Whittle may not be necessary next year or the year after, but at some point the recipe has to add some new flavor, otherwise it runs the risk of rotting away.
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