After more than 70 years of providing quality entertainment from across the globe in Borderland, the Border Concert Association is pulling the plug.
The Scott Woods Band will grace the stage in the last performance of the series next Friday (May 5) at the Backus Auditorium in International Falls.
A decrease in attendance, coupled with an increase in expenses, has resulted in the BCA deciding to fold, said co-president Diane Maxey.
“The quality of entertainment has never wavered," she stressed. "But the expenses of providing the entertainment have skyrocketed.”
The BCA is a non-profit organization, meaning all of the money it makes from ticket sales goes towards hiring talent, paying auditorium rental fees, and meeting production requirements.
As the price of the talent went up, they started to scramble for money to compensate.
It also didn't help that attendance is about one-third of what it used to be.
The exchange rate also was an issue, leaving Canadians to pay more for tickets than Americans. An adult season pass this year cost $50 (U.S.) while it cost $70 in Canadian funds.
Maxey said age also is a huge factor in generating an audience. Most of their members are quite older, and have a difficult time getting to the concerts, especially those who live on the Canadian side.
“It is a new era of entertainment," Maxey reasoned. ”The younger people just aren't interested.
“We need concerts that will attract all ages.”
On a brighter note, Maxey said the demise of the BCA should draw a larger audience for “Tour de Fort” in Fort Frances.
“It will be easier for people because they won't have to chose between two different concert series,” she noted.
"Especially if money is an issue for them.
“We always tried not to double up on concert dates but sometimes they fell within days of each other,” Maxey added.
“Now that won't be an issue.”
Maxey said she's sure “Tour de Fort” will sell out quickly for its 2017-18 season and also stressed how important it is to support the arts here.
“People love concerts," she remarked. ”Why leave to go to the city?
“Obviously we aren't getting top-notch entertainment like Elton John and Bon Jovi, but attending these small concerts are still a wonderful experience.”
As for a return of the BCA down the road, Maxey doesn't see it happening.
“Unless [Fort Frances and International Falls] become very wealthy, we won't see the return of the BCA,” she said.
“It's been an amazing run.”