Theft rocks otherwise successful arts festival in Huntingdon

Theft rocks otherwise successful arts festival in Huntingdon

Families enjoyed a midday set of Super Stupendous Incredible Indelible Unforgettable Kids Songs from Mars! during the Arts Alive Festival at Grove Hall under the brand new travelling tent.

When the theft of at least $5,000 worth of sound equipment from the site of Arts Alive in Huntingdon threatened to taint the success of this year’s edition, a quick Facebook post and some very observant locals turned what could have been a very sad story into another example of how effectively the Valley can rally. 

"A chain of neighbourhoof business owners rallied to recover the goods," explained Mark and Tina Bye, the co-owners of Grove Hall, in recounting their story. In order to put on a professional quality outdoor concert, the Rural Arts Project, a not -for-profit run out of Grove Hall, had rented equipment to produce the event. The following morning, they discovered a 100 foot Digiflex 24 in/ 4 return XLR sound snake, 100 feet of Cam-Lock cabling and a Leprecon brand Tree Mount Dimmer had all gone missing.

A call to the police was made, and in the meantime, Tina decided to send out an alert on Facebook describing the stolen objects. In no time, a local business owner suggested they take a look in the back of a truck parked behind his establishment in Huntingdon. Sitting in the bed of the pickup was the missing sound snake. Police were once again called. And, while all were on site filling out a report, one of the two owners of the vehicle approached the parking lot and, following a brief foot chase, was promptly booked. The pair, it turns out, were known to police.

The rest of the stolen equipment was subsequently located in the Huntingdon apartment the couple had just started renting. A good news end to the story, however, some of the items sustained significant damage, for which the Rural Arts Project is liable.

3rd edition of Arts Alive

With the theft resolved, Mark and Tina Bye were able to proclaim the 3rd edition of the Arts Alive Festival at Grove Hall a success. It was "exactly what it needed to be – people being together, exploring artistic mediums, learning about each other’s hostories and traditions, and revelling in all our Valley has to offer from its veggies, its brew and especially its talented people," exclaimed Tina Bye.

The pair are especially proud of the quality of this year’s artistic production, and of the fact all of the acts, including the two opening singers and headliners, John Jacob Magistery, had a strong local connection.

The all-day event also marked the inauguration of a massive new 48’x70’ tent purchased recently by The Rural Arts Project as part of a project that will see future productions take place throughout the Valley. "Grove Hall is going on tour," confirmed Mark Bye, noting how the travelling tent had a larger seating capacity than the actual hall. Financed by a grant through the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent’s Territory Development Fund, the plan for now is to begin touring a new production as part of the 2018 season.

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