Scheduling Problem with Cobourg’s Entertainment

Cobourg does not lack for entertainment events but many events are scheduled for the same day and even the same time.  A good example was this past Sunday (November 4) when there were nine events by my count.  There were five live shows, two speakers, an Art Show and a walking tour.  But the following Sunday has very few events – although that may be because it’s Nov 11.  You’d think that some of the people organizing the shows would talk to each other.  Some years ago, the (now defunct) Arts Council of Northumberland tried to resolve the issue but gave up for lack of cooperation from enough of the arts organizations.  Below is a review of the events on Sunday – one would hope that organizers would choose dates that don’t clash, especially those scheduled with short notice.

Lt. Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Lt. Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Of course the first complaint is that there is no single central events calendar with enough forward notice – you usually need to know a few months in advance but many calendars (like the newspaper) are only for the next week or two.  Even the wonderful “What’s On” that Cecilia Nasmith used to produce in Northumberland Today was not long term.  I have listed below the calendars I know of (with some details) but perhaps the Town of Cobourg could staff up and expand their current Calendar to be truly comprehensive – currently they only list Town managed events.  But they would then also need a new format – the current one is awkward with more than 3 events per day.

Events on Sunday November 4

Event Time Details
Poppy Trail Walking Tour 11:00 am Armistice 18 event, starts at Victoria Hall
Armistice 18 Speaker – Charlotte Grey 1:00 pm In the Concert hall at Victoria Hall.  An Armistice 18 event – free but “sold-out”; in the audience was Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell – photo at top right was from her previous visit to Cobourg.
Mona Lisa Discussion 1:00 pm In the Art Gallery in Victoria Hall – Speaker Stanley Feldman talked about DaVinci’s Mona Lisa – Is there another one?
Art Show and Sale 1:00 pm At the Cobourg Library – Day 3 of a 3 day event
So you want to play the Urhu 2:00 pm At the William Academy (the old CDCI West) – Sponsored by Northumberland Learning Connection
88 Keys – Les Amis Concert 3:00 pm Classical Piano Music at the Loft
Last Day, Last Hour 3:00 pm Armistice 18 Event in the “Old Bailey Courtroom” in the Victoria Hall – a play about a famous libel trial after WWI
Stars on her Shoulders 3:00 pm Armistice 18 Event at the Concert Hall in Victoria Hall – A play reading about Nurses in WWI
Sexy Laundry – Dinner Theatre 7:00 pm Dinner-theatre at the Best Western.

Some of these do not clash since they are at different times or appeal to different audiences but others obviously do clash.  For more detail on these events see the Cobourg Internet Entertainment Calendar for November 2018

Below are some calendars that can be used to see what’s on.  Most are “self-help” calendars where you can add an event yourself although there are  few exceptions.

Events Calendars

Snapd One the best although it also includes club and educational events.  It also covers Port Hope as well as Cobourg.
Concert Hall It is actually their booking calendar and you cannot enter information yourself.  But they manage bookings for many of Cobourg’s events
Town of Cobourg Only Town managed events and you cannot enter events yourself. Often slow to load and has a poor format.
Northumberland County Covers whole county
Northumberland News Covers Northumberland County but the time frame does not extend far into the future.  However, there are a lot of events!
My FM Radio Station A limited number of events
Kawartha Now Includes most Cobourg Events – link at left uses search for Cobourg to limit results.
Cobourg Internet Calendar Update November 2020. Originally a full events calendar – due to little interest, it has been discontinued and is now more general but includes major events and lists of calendars much like above.

It may be too much to hope that events will get coordinated.  It does take quite a bit of work to simply list events and if an event is not listed soon enough then you cannot avoid the time slot that you don’t know is occupied.

I also cringe at some of the poor calendar layouts used.  Web site designers sometimes make poor choices.


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5 years ago

The Town of Cobourg site does have a calendar event submission form but it is not clear what calendar it ends up on. For a musical event, I chose the Tourism calendar which then has no Arts and Culture nor Music category so I was left with Festivals & Events.

The Communications Dept auto responds with:

Thank you for submitting a booking request and/or event to our online calendar.

Your request has been sent to our staff and is currently being reviewed. We will respond to you within 24-48 hours of your request being submitted.

Old Sailor
5 years ago

As an “irregular refugee” who snuck into town under the cover of darkness from the GTA a few years ago, I am overwhelmed by the variety of entertainment available to Northumberland folk. It is impossible to track all the events. So many venues and types of entertainment. John has the best event tracker.

We are spoiled and need to be organized by John or by the town. It is also in the best interests of the entertainment venues that their programs receive maximum exposure.

Reply to  Old Sailor
5 years ago

“It is also in the best interests of the entertainment venues that their programs receive maximum exposure.” Absolutely true. There are many volunteers that are engaged in making these events a quality experience for both the participants and the audience. I like Gailr97 suggestion of a cultural calendar, but one that is funded by the specific events themselves, make it part of their event budget. Cultural Calendar Inc. would charge by the word and/or some other measure. Given Patricia’s experience sounds like there may be a revenue opportunity for someone who has the skill, time and patience to deal with the varied organizations. Do not involve the Town and specifically do not increase a taxpayer burden. Headcount is expensive.

Reply to  gerinator
5 years ago

Remember that the volunteer organizations are also not-for-profits. The ticket revenue covers the costs if they are lucky. The costs of marketing the events, even the listing if is must be paid for, must be included in the bidget to cover their costs. The central listing would serve the needs of individuals trying to devide where they want to go more than the needs of volunteer organizations who already pay for other msrketing. If you want to chose a date for a major event, some calling around will tell you if the big regular groups are doing something on thst date.

5 years ago

Imagine living in a city where there are hundreds of events every day….
The challenge for coordinating events is that many of them are set a long time in advance, often by people other than the organization running the events. Guest performers and speakers might not be available on the preferred date: small towns take them when they can. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had no choice when his flying tour of KIm Rudd’s nomination brought him to Cobourg on October 19, the opening night of Last Day, Last Hour. Some groups, such as Northumberland Players, publish their predictable schedule early every year because the venues set many of the dates. Similarly, organizers of big events have to choose from the dates available at the venue. This year the Armistice 18 events completely shook up the schedule of events at Victoria Hall which is a very busy venue.
A central listing might be helpful for the one-off events to find a free time amongst all those “seasons” that are booked well in advance. But advance planning should enable people to fit those events that are recurring around the one-day only events they want to attend in most cases.

Patricia Stanley
5 years ago

As the Arts Council of Northumberland events calendar manager and weekly newsletter editor for over 3 years, I can tell you that it was a time-consuming job for an unpaid volunteer. I think the calendar tool (a WordPress calendar add-on to the website) was excellent, but searching for events and cut-and-pasting became more onerous as the calendar grew (and not a job that most of the various cultural groups wanted to take on), and assembling an email newsletter every week was eventually too much for me. I do think we need at minimum a calendar of events, but I also think the town needs to hire and pay someone to do the job.

Reply to  Patricia Stanley
5 years ago

I suspect that the people who have given a thumbs down to this comment don’t get out very much. Or they have not been involved in putting together a big fundraiser only to see it up against another major event, as happened recently for the fundraiser for the Marie Dressler Museum when it was on the same evening as the opening event for Armistice18 starring the Elora Singers.
There have been a number of people over the years who have attempted to provide some sort of cultural calendar, and one of the best has been the one John provides on this website. But eventually, for one reason or another, they stop doing so. Pat, because it became too time consuming, others who left town, or just got fed up with it. If this is an official task that can be added to information already being sent out or made available by the Town it will be on someone’s job description. Then if the job holder retires or moves on there will be a position to be filled and the information will continue to be available. As it is, if, heaven forfend, John decides to retire his web site, we will be back to perusing notices on billboards at the library entrance (a good spot), or coffee joints around town.