Raven Mad Daze in jeopardy
Saviour steps forward

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 26/99) - When Sue Glowach announced that she would no longer organize the popular midnight solstice event known as Raven Mad Daze -- she has been doing it for six years -- there wasn't much reaction. Until John Clark and Martin Gaudet, Caribou Carnival organizers, recently demonstrated interest.

"We seem to be having some success with the Caribou Carnival," Clark says. "Granted there's been some slips and errors, but nothing that couldn't be fixed."

Clark contends that the experience the two have gleaned from Caribou Carnival will be useful to them for Mad Daze.

"And since nobody has stepped up to the plate..." he adds.

"If we want Raven Mad Daze to go on, then we'll put Raven Mad Daze together."

Clark also has a few ideas to improve the event.

But Glowach doesn't think it should be left to one person any longer.

"It's great that John wants to do it but who's gonna hire and contract John to do it and give John the guidelines that gives you the fiscal responsibility for it? Who's going to have the continuity?"

Glowach suggests that the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Frontier's Visitor's Association, or the city of Yellowknife are the groups that would most fit the profile of an organizing body.

"Something like that, who's going to be here no matter what," she explains.

"If John Clark gets hit by a bus tomorrow, what happens to the history of Raven Mad Daze?"

Glowach has approached the organizations mentioned above. So far, not one has responded.

"I think that there needs to be a position created in one of the body's that is existing either chamber, Northern Frontier Visitor's Centre, or the city that takes over the responsibility of festival planning."

She suggests that a meeting be held in April for all interested people.

Raven Mad Daze -- it all started when Bromley and Son, a hardware store in existence in the early '70s, decided to stage a midsummer night madness. They opened their store at midnight.

"We just thought it was a good idea to celebrate June 21," says Barb Bromley, the matriarch of the family. "We opened at midnight. We had the city band playing at the corner."

The Bromleys tried to involve other businesses, but none took up the opportunity.

"There was a lineup down to Overlander's," remembers Bromley. "I was kind of scared. Back then we only had the old tills."

By the late '70s, more businesses had gotten involved, as had the city, and the event was now called Raven Mad Daze.

Let's just say that in the last 28 years, the event has grown.

"Raven Mad Daze last year, we had 13,700 people show up," states Glowach, who has been organizing the event for the last six years.

"It's a major festival. Tourist events are planned around it. I would put it above Folk on the Rocks and Caribou Carnival, for people that attend it. As well, it's the only free event."

But Glowach has been doing the job for a portion of her usual wage. She can't afford to do it anymore.

"I've been paid a small amount to do it, a very small amount, " explains Glowach. "The third of the cost of one of the other festivals. I've given them a 66 per cent discount on my usual fee."

She adds:

"The community has kind of contracted me to do this without contracting me to do this, through the process of elimination I've done it. And I don't think that's the way it should be handled."

"I hope what you write encourages people to do it," says Barb Bromley, who believes it would be a great shame if the event no longer existed.