Bruce Gillis’ reluctance to play the Festival of The Strait was somewhat confusing. Statements such as “I don’t think we should play it,” or “Do you think it’s right for us?” became a recurring theme from the mouth of Mr. Gillis. I assured him it was a good gig to play. After all, it was in Cape Breton on our island and with our friends, The Stanfields. He eventually agreed to do it, but from the bottom of my usually apathetic heart, I still sensed he was a tad bit hesitant. A week went by and it came time to advertise for the gig. I told Bruce to put it on our myspace, facebook, and all those other sites people probably don’t look at. He said he would. The next morning, I got on my computer to the things people usually do on computers; watch Lady Gaga on Youtube, create spam, look up new recipes and update people on facebook about boring things that no one should care about but for some reason oddly do. When I logged into facebook, Bruce Gillis’ status stared me directly in the eyes: “Hey, come out to catch The Town Heroes at The Festival of The Straight… if you’re into that kind of thing…”
“What does he mean… ‘if you’re into that kind of thing’?” I thought to myself. I then read it again. Upon my second viewing, Bruce Gillis’ reluctance to play the gig became apparent to me. Bruce was perceiving The Festival of The Strait, and Strait as in “Strait of Canso”, as some sort of homophobic celebration. His lack of enthusiasm was actually justifiable, from his perception anyway.
I checked all of our sites. All of our advertising was for THE FESTIVAL OF THE STRAIGHT! “This aint good,” I thought to myself. I’m no rocket scientist, but I figured alienating an entire group of people wasn’t the best tactical approach to promoting our band.
I immediately called Bruce. “Yeah, I thought it was some kinda thing against gay people,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t wanna do it.” And reasonably so. “And you think I’d actually want to play that?” I responded. “Well, ya didn’t say ya didn’t not want to.” I suppose I didn’t.
From there we changed all the advertising, STRAIGHT became Strait and our potential diminishing fan-base stayed intact. A happy ending for all. Oh yeah… and the show was a good time, got lots of fly bites, free beer, comfy hotel room, hungover, and had a long drive back to Halifax with no air-conditioning. Life is good. Mike