By Angela Hawn
No matter where she ends up in the future or what venue hosts the concerts she promotes, the Arts Centre Hastings in Madoc will always hold a special place in Emma Bowen's heart. Scene of Emma's first concert series, as well as her first music festival, the centre also marks a major accomplishment for Emma's father, Chris. He was one of the people tasked with building this stunning tribute to functional green living in the first place.
Built in 2008 by students in the sustainable building program at Peterborough's Fleming College, this awesome feat of environmentally conscious architecture first began on the drawing boards of co-creators Chris Magwood and Ingrid Cyrns. Since then, the indoor/outdoor venue has added a unique and welcome feature to a community park which also includes a popular skateboarding area and well-equipped contemporary playground.
Comfortably seating audiences of eighty inside and 350 out, the space boasts both indoor and outdoor stages. A bamboo earth sprung floor reminiscent of the grand old “floating” horsehair dance floors found in 1930's and 40's music halls makes it the perfect spot to get your groove on. And, of course, there are those wonderful straw-bale facilitated acoustics, helped along by a great P.A. system and the building's lovely cathedral ceilings.
But, perhaps most important to Emma, is the building's symbolism. She knows the importance of practical, sustainable living. After all, environmental awareness for this young woman started at birth. With local green activist Gary Magwood for a grandfather, she comes from a long line of environmental advocates.
“I grew up off the grid in a straw-bale house with wind turbine and solar power,” declares Emma, pride evident in her voice. “You were always aware of the power you used and you always made sure you turned the lights off when you left a room.”