Today, “B-On-B” continues to celebrate classical music and musicians each summer. The combination of a bucolic setting and a vibrant, professional group of musicians creates a truly unique cultural experience. Concerts are scheduled in the afternoon and/or in the evening, and there are even “pop-up” concerts around the Island that are not announced in advance. It’s a true Beaver Island gift to walk along Lake Michigan and hear the sounds of a brass quintet playing 40’s dance tunes. Finding the players sitting on a tug boat in the harbor just makes it even more fun, and more special!
This great music is made truly accessible. Most of the pieces are introduced by either the conductor, participating musician or the program; dress is Beaver Island Casual; the repertoire includes both well-known pieces and lesser known music or composers. Concerts last about ninety minutes, so there’s plenty of time between afternoon and evening performances to enjoy dinner at one of the Island’s restaurants and a walk around downtown. And while there is no ticketed fee for this glorious music, donations are gladly accepted – and very much needed!!
Even those new to classical music will find something to enjoy at BonB. For example, in 2014 the “Americana” concert was performed in a huge tent with audience seated on the grass. Featuring Sousa marches and a color guard, this concert offered recognizable tunes and a comfortable, bring-your-own-chair-and-a-drink venue.
Findings from Last Year’s Survey
Feedback received by the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association Board indicates that the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival audiences and supporters are very satisfied with their Festival experience. BonB audiences value the Festival because BonB provides attendees the opportunity to have an enjoyable social experience with friends and family and the Festival also promotes, develops, and supports the arts on Beaver Island. BonB supporters and advertisers have pointed out the Festival makes an important economic contribution to Island businesses associated with Festival operations and services.
The Baroque on Beaver Festival provides value-added activities for the Island’s school age population. The Festival exposes Island children to classical and choral music and the Festival has a positive effect on children’s personal development, in particular their imagination and creativity. In addition children and adults are eligible to attend workshops and programs underwritten by Baroque on Beaver supporters.
Enhances Island Identity and Image
One of the most striking findings from talking to Festival goers and supporters is the strong and positive impact that the Festival has on the way BI is perceived by locals, summer people, and visitors alike. While it might be expected that attendees have a positive attitude towards the Festival, discussions with year round residents indicates they take great pride in the Festival and value how the Festival’s enhances the quality of Island life. Attendees believe that the Island setting makes the Festival unique and distinctive and advertisers highly value having events occurring over several days, thus ensuring the continued contribution to BI’s summer economy.
Achieving social outcomes is not the primary aim of any Festival. Nevertheless, our discussions with attendees and supporters show that the Baroque on Beaver does leave social footprint. The Festival promotes local pride and a sense of belonging. Moreover there is some evidence that the Festival helps to build social connections between people – whether between family members, or between visitors and Islanders or Islanders and summer people. The Festival experience brings the whole BI community together and provides residents and visitors alike with a distinctive experience.
Boosts Island Economy
Discussions with “B-On-B” sponsors and advertisers confirm and further strengthen the key message that the Festival is an important contributor to the Island economy. The economic impact is driven by audience expenditure, and festival musicians and artist also make significant contributions. Audience expenditure is dominated by travelers who arrive on the island specifically to attend the Festival. These destination driven attendees have a propensity to spend more and stay longer in our community, making their Festival participation even more dynamic. Some of the biggest beneficiaries are those businesses whose focus is tourism, hospitality, and transport.
Lastly, the Festival offers participants, attendees, and island residents a number of exceptional occasions in which to make a difference. The Festival contributes to the professional development of performers, artists, and other contributors. For the Island populace the Festival provides both full time and summer residents with a chance to volunteer to assist with Festival activities, events, and operations. In addition, the Festival offers a limited number of unpaid internship that provides real world experience in cultural arts operations and services.