Georgian grad to lead Kempenfest
August 01, 2019

We caught up with Louise Jackson, the General Manager of Kempenfest and graduate of the tourism program, to ask about her job and time at Georgian.

About Kempenfest

Describe Kempenfest for someone who has never been
Kempenfest is North America’s largest outdoor arts and crafts festival located alongside two kilometres of Barrie’s beautiful waterfront. The event includes live music, a youth village, games for families, artisans and so much more. Kempenfest is a not-for-profit that supports different service organizations including, Kiwanis Club of Barrie, Barrie Art Club, Optimist International, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club of Barrie and the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, which has given back over 10 million dollars to our community.

What are your goals for the event this year?
Every year we hope to make it better than the last. This year we have really enhanced our youth village and have emerging artist showcases in three different areas.

What are some of the highlights for Kempenfest 2019?
This year is going to be better than ever! Loverboy is a fan favourite music wise, while the RBC emerging artist showcase in the arts and crafts area will showcase new talent.

What skills does it take to manage such a large event?
Wow, that’s a great question! You need to have excellent communication, marketing, sales, social media and sponsorship skills, be able to work under pressure, manage volunteers, the list could go on. Counting on your team and trusting that they will do their job is also valuable, along with the ability to multi-task, all while handling everything with a smile on your face.

What kind of support and resources do you have at your disposal?
A team of dedicated volunteers and a team that has the event’s best interests at heart. Local businesses, sponsors, vendors, the City of Barrie and so many others. We are truly grateful to have such an amazing support team.

Louise Jackson standing beside the midway

How do you buy tickets and how much do they cost?
Kempenfest is a free event to attend. If you’re interested in going to a concert, the area is ticketed from 5 p.m. onward. The tickets start at $7 and go up to $25 depending on the show you’re looking to attend and when you purchased them. You can purchase tickets for evening musical performances here.

Louise Jackson, Kempenfest Manager at the Midway

About Louise

Tell us about yourself. I hear you’re born and raised in Barrie?
Born and raised, I love this city.

Describe your career up to this point
It’s been a journey of experiences that have all lead me to where I am today. Working with industry leaders is continued education. We never stop learning and the more we work and meet new people, the more we learn. I started out in the corporate world in downtown Toronto, worked in sales, security, sports event management, marketing and public relations. The most important thing I learned is you should never burn a bridge. Building solid relationships is the key to success. I’m grateful for all the jobs I’ve had prior to being the General Manager at Kempenfest, because they’re what got me here. Never stop learning and always think outside of the box.

Why did you decide to take this job?
It’s the perfect fit for me! I love the event world and supporting the community means the world to me. Having a career I love, that gives back and is the signature event of the city I grew up in is awesome. It was just meant to be. I had a lot of people supporting me to get this job.

How did Georgian help you in your career?
I’m so proud to be a graduate of Georgian College. The tourism program taught me all the skills I needed to be ready for the workplace. Tourism is a huge industry and can truly take you anywhere for your career. We have a world-class college in our own backyard. I stayed home to go to school, but got to travel through the co-op program where I spent my first summer in Banff. I still work with the Tourism program and I’m happy to share my work experience with current students.

What was your favourite part of being a Georgian student?
Everything really. The professors were people with real experience in the workplace, who have lived or were living what they were teaching. Employers respect a diploma from Georgian College. Proud to be a graduate!