Edmonton City Council has approved a proposal by the Edmonton Arts Council to dedicate $1 million to create a sculpture in the river valley to commemorate the existence of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.
However, instead of a statue of Ian Tyson who wrote “Four Strong Winds,” a song that annually closes the festival every year, or even a giant replica of a green onion cake, the EAC has opted to create a giant porta-potty overlooking Gallagher Park, the site of the music event.
“We were totally at odds over what we wanted as an art form,” said a board member of the Edmonton Folk Festival about the sculpture, which will likely stand about 40 metres high and remove a few houses in what the festival believes will be a minor inconvenience to residents of the Cloverdale neighbourhood.
“Imagine the problems in deciding on a music icon, since we’ve had so many. I mean, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang and even the late Stan Rogers would have been excellent choices. But we really wanted to use an object that was more neutral than a representation of a flesh-and-blood folkie. I mean, what’s one of the greatest pleasures you can have at the festival besides the music, the food and the beer? Obviously it’s that feeling of relief when you finally make it to the front of the line at the porta-potties! That’s the feeling we wanted to convey!”
“It totally makes sense!” said a member of the EAC. “You get out what you put into anything! And nothing comes out more vividly than what you ingest at the folk festival. It’s our way of expressing a metaphor for giving back, when you think about it!”
Councillors Mike Nickel and Michael Oshry opposed the motion to approve the porta-potty installation, citing a waste of taxpayers’ money as their motive. But Nickel said the metaphor was perfect.
“This is the ultimate portrayal of how public money is being spent by the city,” he was rumoured to have said. “Right down the toilet!”