The idea came about after a few meetings with some downtown business owners who had gathered together after a very long and desolate winter looking for ways that could unite us a downtown community. Michelle Huggins of the Lazy Tulip Café had watched a video of a community in Canmore, BC that had put together a video to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song in order to promote their food & wine festival. Michelle then approached Craig Stevens from the BIA with the idea of doing a similar video with all the downtown businesses and he agreed!
In a meeting with local downtown business owners Michelle & Craig approached the subject and Sarah Uffelman was quick to jump on board to assist in any way she could. Craig approached Chad Ballantyne of Rhubarb Media about the idea. Chad asked about finding a local artist or even an original song to truly make this a Barrie-centric video. Craig said he’d look into it. Chad then volunteered to shoot and edit it all together. The team was set and after a couple of meetings a plan was developed.
The Casting Call
An email or a “casting call” was then sent out by Craig Stevens of the BIA to all the local, downtown businesses. We weren’t sure how many responses we would get but soon the email responses started rolling in. It was obvious that with this many businesses that were interested we would need to set up a schedule that would have to run over a couple of days.
Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time as shortly thereafter Craig Stevens found himself at the Barrie East End Social where he saw Brett Caswell perform an acoustic version of the “Happy” song. He felt strongly that this could be a really great twist to the video and give it the local flavour we were looking for. Brett agreed and then recruited Courtney Dubois to do the backup vocals. A recording was made thereby setting the tone of the video.
All we needed was about five minutes of their time. We carried around a mini speaker with the song on one of our audio devices and then for three days we hit up all the scheduled businesses. But we found that we had some time in between so we decided to just walked in on some businesses and asked if they would be interested in being a part of the project. Most were excited about the idea. Some were a little shy. And, well, there were a couple that were just not that interested in breaking out a move. However, some of our best moments came from those impromptu businesses who had no idea we were coming!
The video is now online and history has been made. It will be interesting to see where this goes and where it will take us in the future. Perhaps this could lead to similar projects year round or perhaps it was a one time thing. Time will tell. What we do know is that it makes us happy to watch it and it has brought together a diverse and fun downtown community.