How it Works

Due to placing multiple acts all around a given community, we are able to keep the outdoor gatherings very spread out and flowing, limiting the pooling of all acts in one place. We started in 2020 when gathering limits were at groups of 50 outdoors, and we can likely start back up in 2021 with gathering limits of about 30 spectators. As gathering limits increased, we allowed acts to be positioned in central locations, but we can just as easily go back to more separated performance locations to accommodate the latest COVID guidelines.

Playbook

  • Isobreaker experiences are designed in a physically spread-out manner to encourage awareness to residents throughout a community and to stay within COVID-19 safety guidelines. 
  • We draw the entertainment from within the communities, instead of bringing in paid professionals. 
  • All acts are promoted equally, regardless of skill level.  The localness and surprise element of the talent is what makes Isobreaker special, moreso than the level of perfection.
  • All of the entertainment and organizing is done on a volunteer basis.
  • Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of age or the level of their performance skills. As long as an act is safe, fun and family-friendly, it is welcome.
  • Venues used are free: participants use their own lawns or public outdoor green spaces, and unusual/unexpected and new locations are encouraged as long as they present no bylaw issues. Because performance locations are so close to home, there is no need for port-a-potties.
  • Acts supply their own equipment and accept their own risk and responsibility for their performances.
  • Performances are free for attendees and free for participants.
  • Local businesses are encouraged to get involved – as sponsors, or hosts of activities/games.
  • We encourage performances for shut-in residents of a community by bringing entertainers to their front lawns as well.
  • Sales: Performers or Artists that wish to sell an artistic item (such a CD’s, books, paintings, jewelry) or give a coupon/gift card are acceptable, as long as there is also an entertaining element to it.  We strongly discourage tip requests, busking, and sales presentations, but if you want to encourage people to follow you on social media or collect email addresses for your fan list, that is acceptable.
  • Food trucks available to you if you wish, and they usually attend at no additional charge. They. bring their own garbage and recycling bins. We will provide priority booking information if you would like to bring them in.

History

Founded in May 2020 during COVID-19 in Lake Bonavista, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Community Isobreaker (formerly called Community Stompede) is a non-profit organization that creates a neighbourhood-based entertainment experience, using the talents found within each community, and staged right from front lawns and nearby green spaces.

Attending or participating in an Isobreaker is free and on a volunteer basis, as a way to lift community spirit, and to bring neighbours together to get to know each other better.

What’s special about it? The community connection. The reaction to performing for your neighbours ranges from, “Wow, I didn’t know you could sing like that!” to “Aw, I remember you when you were only 4 feet tall!” and “How’s you mom doing these days?” The neighbours reconnect just like an extended family, and it is truly a beautiful feeling. Little children get such encouragement; adults and seniors feel reunited.

The key: We DO NOT screen the acts for “professional” quality. There is no need; this is about inclusion, and sharing whatever a person wants to share. We believe that ALL people can create something entertaining. A child taking their stuffed animals and making them into a “zoo” on the front lawn is heart-warming entertainment to all the neighbours, and a proud delight to the child that creates it. So is a display of model planes, making a crazy hopscotch, performing music, dancing, showing classic cars or anything that inspires fun and curiosity. As long as it’s safe and fun, it’s a great fit for Community Isobreaker.

Isobreaker just keeps getting better, too: We recently added a mobile component in Lake Bonavista to bring the entertainment to residents who are not mobile enough to get out and enjoy the entertainment. This is perfect for entertainers who prefer short performances: say 2 – 3 songs, or a couple of magic tricks, making it very achievable for any entertainer who is younger, or still “finding their legs”. Last year, we had a one mobile team entertainer who was only 5 years old! The residents absolutely love it – they come out on their porches smiling and delighted…and their neighbours often watch nearby, helping them reconnect with everyone and feel so much less alone – breaking isolation (that’s where the “iso – breaker” name concept comes from) and creating unity in the community.

Community Isobreaker continues to grow. We now have performers from over a dozen communities across Calgary, and have different How-to kits available for communities interested in hosting one. We’re always seeking more performer/participants regardless of location – if your community isn’t hosting an Isobreaker, we can often place you to perform in another community. And if you don’t perform, but want to be involved, we would love the help of any people willing to be volunteers – placing/collecting signage or supervising crazy little family games like chuckwagons or pizza-box frisbee.

Whether you want to do Isobreakers repeatedly (they gain community momentum and more performers each time they are repeated), or just try it as a one-off, we are certain that it will truly open your eyes about the talent, spirit and potential within your own community. Costs to host one in a community are extremely reasonable (we’re non-profit!), and we have all the tools you need.

If you want to be involved in any way, contact us today.