As announced in the fall, the Indian River Festival Board of Directors decided to embark on a brand refresh, including updates to the organization’s logo, marketing and the Festival name. The decision to change the name included consultation with stakeholders, audience members, artists and the local community. From this work emerged three primary reasons for a new name: the former name does not clearly indicate that they are a music festival; it does not reference or connect to the organization’s mandate, which is to present quality music to highlight the acoustics of Historic St. Mary’s while helping restore and preserve the venue; and after 25 years, the organization feels the current name does not reflect an awareness or respect for different cultures.
The Festival hired local brand strategist Dee Enright of JEBBCA Strategies, creative team copywriter Margaret MacQuarrie and graphic designer Cathy Little to develop the new brand. A working group was struck to help guide the vision. The working group analyzed results from their 2021 post-concert survey and conducted a stakeholder survey. They underwent a consultation process to assess the current brand followed by a development process, culminating in a brand statement and other materials needed by the creative team to design the necessary graphic elements.
The Festival’s Board of Directors has been considering updating the name since first hearing complaints, observations, and calls to action from various visiting artists. Since 2021, the staff and board have completed education on anti-racism with BIPOC USHR and education from the PEI Human Rights Commission. The Festival board and staff will continue to seek education and guidance focused on equity and inclusion to ensure every person can feel welcome in their space, but recognizes the first step to take is to update the current name.
The mandate and core ideals of the Festival will continue to build on a legacy of over 25 years of music set in Historic St. Mary’s. Since its founding in 1996, Under the Spire Music Festival (USMF) has hosted some of the best Canadian performers and strives to present musical excellence spanning multiple genres.