June 12th, 2024

Spectrum festival focusing on accessibility for all this weekend

By ANNA SMITH on May 29, 2024.

Marek Stinson and Grayden Dietrich work as a team to use a pole to collect rings at Spectrum in this 2019 file photo. The annual outdoor festival is set this weekend with a number of free activities in an effort to include all local families.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

This weekend brings the Spectrum festival back in full swing, with a host of activities and a renewed focus on local talent.

Running from Friday to Sunday at Kin Coulee Park, the outdoor festival is set to have more broadly accessible activities than ever, said board president Bill Woolmer.

“One of the biggest things about this weekend is the fact that all the inflatable obstacle courses and bouncy castles, for the first year since I’ve been on the board, it’s all free,” said Woolmer. This is part of a re-direction on the board’s part to make as much of the festival free as possible, as to allow families and residents to come out and enjoy a broader aspect of the offerings.

“In August of last year, when we sat down, I became president,” said Woolmer. “And the main focus we had is that it has to be free, or people aren’t going to show up because of the financial situation of most people,” said Woolmer. “If you had three kids and you were buying a wristband at $25 apiece, that’s 75 bucks, people don’t have that money.”

The festival has welcomed some new sponsors this year, and without them. Woolmer says,, Spectrum wouldn’t be able to make the bouncy castles free, something for which the board is grateful.

A free skateboarding school will take place Saturday morning, as put on by the Medicine Hat Skateboarder’s Association.

On the other side in regards to paid portions of the event, this year is set to be one of the largest, with more than 50 vendors and roughly 15 food trucks.

Woolmer expressed that they’re likely to start setting up oThursday, and that the excitement among volunteers with board members will likely begin then, seeing their work start to bear fruit in the name of a fantastic weekend.

“We’ll have our live music in the evenings, we have a battle of the bands, with four high schools,” said Woolmer.

The winner of Battle of the Bands gets to open for the Saturday night main band for the beer gardens.

“We have Pure Power Wrestling out of Lethbridge. This will be their third time to Spectrum,” said Woolmer. He adds that he never anticipated the pull of the wrestling group, but is thrilled to see the city’s enthusiasm.

This year will also feature a re-focus on Medicine Hat talent, said Woolmer, something he feels is integral to the spirit of the festival itself.

“Spectrum is exclusive to Medicine Hat. So I think it should always stay that way. And we do have some fantastic local talent, we also brought in new local talent this year,” said Woolmer. He explained that organizers make an effort to not ask for the same bands each year, to ensure the festival continues to feature new local music.

A full list of bands playing, as well as times for various activities and offerings, are available on the festival’s website at spectrumfestival.ca.

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