“The line” of course being that oft-muttered phrase / rhetorical greeting “What’s goin’ on?”
June 2002 marks seven years of independently published coverage of arts & entertainment on Cape Breton Island. In those seven years, thirty-two monthly issues and five years of weekly issues of Cape Breton’s only arts & entertainment periodical have been published and distributed in Cape Breton Island and beyond. Monthly magazines found their way, via subscription around the world and special editions have been distributed at Celtic Colours International Festival and East Coast Music Association conferences. Weekly issues kept up with current happenings, combining weekly live music listings with music, theatre and art reviews, previews and profiles plus news on Cape Breton artists and performers. WGO weekly also introduced Rachael Starr’s eerily accurate horoscopes to the population of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Earlier this year, whatsgoinon.ca quietly went online and is averaging hundreds of hits every day, thousands of hits per week. Updated practically daily, whatsgoinon.ca is striking a balance between the timely information a weekly publication is designed to provide and the more in-depth analysis that can be gained from the thousands articles in the archives.
Seven years can be a long time on a shoestring budget. One of the forces driving What’s Goin On has been the belief that an arts and entertainment publication could help to develop a viable economy around the arts in this area where traditional industries are dropping by the wayside, but where the arts have never been stronger. By writing about the arts, it was reasoned, the profile of individual artists, and artistic activity in general, would be raised, thereby drawing more attention to what this artistic community has to offer. Performers, venues, art exhibitions, and dramatic productions would, as a result of this heightened awareness, benefit from increased sales at the box office and of product, which would lead to greater earning potential and result in more money being generated by this sector of the economy. Some of that money would be spent further promoting the products and productions of the local arts community by advertising in the publication which would cover the expenses of publishing the periodical, paying writers and photographers and graphic designers to do what they do on Cape Breton Island, supporting the development of artistic expression in their own community instead of having to move away or flip burgers (or the twenty-first century equivalent – work at a call centre).
It was a good vision but it hasn’t really worked and now it’s time to save some trees and rethink the plan. Again. Until we get it figured out, you can still find out all you need to know at whatsgoinon.ca, including horoscopes and weekly entertainment listings. Take this opportunity to get in touch with the fine folks at What’s Goin On with any comments, criticisms, ideas, or suggestions for the future.