What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The Thing in the Spring and coordinated events like Broke attract a youthful crowd to Peterborough that in turn spends money locally and stays locally. Using our strengths in music and art, we have given countless hours to the creation and successful implementation of large-scale public events that not only bring business to town but also support our town’s cultural identity. The challenge of living in rural New Hampshire in your 20s and early 30s is finding a peer group and finding activities to participate in outside of work. We plan events that attract a younger audience but are not limited or restricted by age but more importantly, through our efforts, we strive to build a community. “We take the ‘ugh’ out of Peterborough.” We use a Do-It-Yourself approach to make events and projects happen. Instead of waiting for someone else to start something and instead of complaining about a lack of activities for young people and artists, we have been proactive and started these events with the support of local businesses.
The goals of the events are:
-Curate interesting and diverse acts at affordable prices
-Create events for young and old to enjoy
-Bring visitors to town to stay and spend locally
-Program free events
-Combine music and visual art
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
As we approach our 8th year of the event, the goals have changed little over time. We are still dedicated to bringing diverse and interesting performers to town and keeping ticket prices low. As the project has continued we set goals for slow and steady growth including adding a second venue for Broke. In the first year, we were concerned with creating something we would want to attend however, we now see the festival as a larger community-wide event and program events for the whole community.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Each year the Thing in the Spring collaborates with many local businesses and other non-profits to create an event that brings people downtown. Partners include, The Toadstool Bookshop, Harlow’s Pub, The Waterhouse Restaurant, The Monadnock Center for History and Culture, Sharon Arts Center, The Universalist Unitarian Church, RJ Finlay and the Town of Peterborough. Each of these partners has collaborated with us on unique events in town.
Sponsors include, The Mountain Corporation, Joseph’s Coat, Brewbakers, The Jack Daniels Inn, The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, Sterling Business Print and many more. Sponsors believe strongly that our event is worthwhile for their businesses and for the town in general. Their support allows us to keep ticket prices low and to keep the schedule jam-packed.
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
The Thing in the Spring relates closely to Peterborough’s identity as a cultural hub for arts and music. As stated an update to the town Master Plan in 2011“Community leaders have asserted the importance of branding in the promotion of the Peterborough region as a destination for cultural tourism.” The towns most recent Visioning Session yielded similar results. The update to the Master Plan in 2011 also “noted the importance of cooperative action within the local arts community, and ultimately on the potential role of the arts to promote Peterborough as a destination.” (Webb, Report 2013)
Our goal is to bring people to the area for the festival, to hear music, see art and to eat, shop and stay locally. This fits with the greater community goal of maintaining and growing our local identity as an arts destination.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
We are interested in the creative presentation of concerts. We are inspired by larger festivals and historical events including Woodstock, Filmore (East and West) and the idea of the concert promoter as curator not a businessperson. Broke:The Affordable Arts Fair was inspired by The Renegade Craft Fair, the documentary Handmade Nation, DIY music/posters/zines and Twist Art Fairs in Northampton, MA.