Hyack Festival Association executive director calls it quits

Melanie Vogel in the sharp Hyack jacket. -
Melanie Vogel in the sharp Hyack jacket.
— image credit:

Sitting at the Inn At the Quay's La Perla restaurant last summer and waiting for the fireworks to begin on the first night of the Hyack Festival was nerve-racking, according Bill Radbourne, the Hyack Festival Association's incoming president for 2012. He wasn't sure it was going to go as planned.

But after the first firework led to an explosion of lights on the water they realized they'd pulled it off, said Radbourne.

It was all thanks Melanie Vogel, who announced last week that she is resigning after two-and-a-half years as the Hyack festival Association's executive director.

"She's great. She's lots of fun, organized, strong-headed. She listens and goes to all the networking events. Businesspeople Downtown really like her and that means better sponsorship," said Radbourne.

Vogel said that she is going to spend a few months travelling, starting with India.

"It's actually really sad to resign. As much as I'm sorry to leave I'm very excited about this new challenge in my life," she said.

Vogel said one of the first things she addressed when she joined the association was complaints from residents who said that, year after year, Hyack's festivals were just more of the "same old, same old."

"With everyone's effort, the board, the volunteers and my office, we brought changes," said Vogel, adding that while some traditions, such as the Ancient and Honourary Anvil Battery Salute need to be preserved, festivals should be dynamic and open to change.

Not that Vogel ever planned anything radical.

"You can't put a big ball on the Fraser and have it do a 360," she explained. "It's small things that add up."

The opening ceremony at the Inn at the Quay, for example, was an improvement on last year's because she convinced the city to let them shoot the fireworks from the river rather than from Queensborough. The fireworks were also accompanied by classical music—a small detail that made a huge difference, she said.

In addition to all the fun stuff she contributed to the festival, Vogel put some order in the association's administrative affairs, according to Radbourne.

"Melanie had to figure everything out herself. We went through a few executive directors before her and they didn't leave much behind," said Radbourne. "She's done a really good job trying to organize things better."

"We're very sorry to see her go. She's coming into her prime now in terms of knowing everything that needs to be done," Radbourne added.


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