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The Gathering 2017 in Burlington featuring a dash of the proven and a pinch of new

Inaugural Gathering Tour hitting the road  


Published on August 15, 2017

Shaun Majumder leading an excursion during the 2016 The Gathering in Burlington.

©Photo courtesy of Sabre Dane/The Gathering

BURLINGTON, NL — Years ago, Shaun Majumder threw his arms out to the people of Burlington and announced he was “coming ‘ome,” and ever since he has been working hard to put his small town on the map.  

With that mission fairly effectively accomplished — each year hundreds of people have been coming to The Gathering and furthering Majumder’s “‘Ome” vision through the festival and its corresponding events — the comedian continues to grow and evolve his plan to make Burlington a significant tourism destination on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

I think it is now one of the most unique festivals on the island, for a few reasons.

Shaun Majumder, founder of The Gathering

Lead singer Tim Baker and Hey Rosetta perform at the 2016 The Gathering.
Photo courtesy of Sabre Dane/The Gathering

In its five-plus years, The Gathering — which followed an inaugural celebration of the opening of the Hummock View Greens greenhouse — has evolved into the festival of fire, food and music it is today.

In 2013 and 2014, Majumder took his quest to develop this tourism potential to mainstream television on the series Majumder Manor. With then fiancée Shelby Feener, business partners, and many locals by his side, the show highlighted the good and the bad of his quest to build Majumder Manor and vitalize the local tourism industry.

‘Ome Sweet ‘Ome now includes remote luxury glamping tents and guest pod. The ‘Ome Fry is a chip van which operates locally during the summer months. Thus far, the This Hour has 22 Minutes star and his ventures has indeed provided an economic influx to small businesses community.

The evolution of The Gathering and ‘Ome Sweet ‘Ome continues — something Majumder accepts by design. If something works, don’t fix it. If something needs fixing or improving, do it.

In 2017, Majumder welcomes the inaugural Gathering Tour. In what is hoped to be the first of many, the festival of fire, food and music is going on the road. Featuring a number of acts from this year’s festival in Burlington from Aug. 24-26, the tour includes stops in St. John’s, Gander, Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.

“The idea behind the tour is eventually we want to share what we are doing in Burlington with everybody all over the province,” Majumder said. “One of the ways of starting that process is taking the festival we do here in Burlington and kind of bringing it on the road.”

The interest, and pre-event ticket sales, have been encouraging, according to the comedian. Majumder promises the usual blend of food, music and comedy, and says there will likely be those impromptu guests and spur of the moment surprises his events have become known for intertwined with the scheduled lineups.

The fifth annual The Gathering will again see a couple of thousand people bring Burlington to its maximum capacity for what has become as much a culinary festival as a display of musical and comedic entertainment.

Majumder says he is happy with the progression of the event and his long-term strategic plan.

The Gathering is as much a culinary festival as it is a music and comedy festival.
Photo courtesy of Sabre Dane/The Gathering

“I think it is now one of the most unique festivals on the island, for a few reasons,” he said. “I think the fact that it is not a big festival is a really important piece … I like that it is spread out between music, chefs and comedy because it is a gathering of people who come together, meet new people, and have so much fun.”

Its simplistic nature is an asset that Majumder does not want to lose. So, while continuing to evolve, it is never expected to be something it is not. The uniqueness of chef hikes and shed crawls will continue to be the staple of the event, according to its creator.

This year’s chef hikes will feature a Latin flavor with chefs Elia Herrera of Toronto and Luis Clavel of Halifax.

The comedians making an appearance will include Nigel Lawrence, Matt Wright, and This Hour has 22 Minutes’ newest cast member Trent McClellan of Corner Brook.

Chef Jeremy Charles of Raymonds Restaurant will lead this year’s Brook Picnic. Musician Sherman Downey will be back to lead the Shed Crawl. Another new event this year is the Side Show, which will feature The Once, and it will be happening at a secret location to be revealed at the festival.

The main Gathering grounds will again be filled with food, led by head chef Roary MacPherson, and various entertainers. Bud Davidge of Simani will be performing at this year’s festival, and Majumder said “Music and Friends” will be this year’s theme song — and the plan is to create a “We Are the World” version of the song with this year’s musicians.

“We want to keep going on this course, and maybe every year add a new little piece here and there,” Majumder said.

The Gathering Tour is a big step in that evolution. This year, the locations will be along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), but Majumder envisions getting deeper into rural areas in the years to come.

“I want to go to the smaller places,” he said. “I want to get off the TCH and go down to tiny places. Where that will be, we don’t know, but we are always taking suggestions as to why we should come to your town.”

This festival and his “elegant version of camping for sissies,” as Majumder likes to call it, could happen in any community throughout the province, he said. His vision of the tour is to open people’s eyes to that.

Crowds gather and have a great time at the concerts and events that are part of The Gathering.
Photo courtesy of Sabre Dane/The Gathering

“It’s about rural sustainability and it’s about economic development in an area like this,” he said. “If we can get a model that works, maybe we can consult and bring this model to other communities all over the island so they can take control of their destiny and not have to wait around for government to give money for subsidies for projects and whatnot.”

Just a way for ‘ome to always be ‘ome for everybody, no matter where that is.


Gathering Tour

Featuring “Kane and Potvin” — 90s Canadian rockers Kevin Kane of “The Grapes of Wrath” and Bryan Potvin of “The Northern Pikes” — master songwriter and 7th level storyteller Steve Poltz, and singer/songwriter Sherman Downey.

— St. John’s Aug. 18 at the Holy Heart Theatre

— Gander Aug. 19 at the Arts and Culture Centre

— Corner Brook Aug. 20 at the Arts and Culture Centre

— Grand Falls-Windsor Aug. 21 at the Arts and Culture Centre

 

The Gathering

Aug. 24

— Registration noon- 9 p.m.

— Jigg’s Dinner Special 5-7 p.m.

— Early Comedy Show 7:30-9:30 p.m.

— Late Comedy Show 10 p.m.-midnight

Aug. 25

— Breakfast 8-10 a.m.

— Registration 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

— Main Gathering grounds open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

— Food Service begins noon- 7p.m.

— Chef hike 1-5 p.m.

— Brook Picnic 2-4 p.m.

— Side Stage Concert 3-4:30 p.m.

Aug. 26

— Breakfast 8-10 a.m.

— Registration 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

— Main Gathering grounds open 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

— Food Service begins noon-7 p.m.

— Chef hike 1-5 p.m.

— Summer Mummer Shed Crawl 2-4 p.m.

— Side Stage Concert 3-4:30 p.m.