Events to raise funds for festival

Cash: Infusion from city council gives organizers a breather.

Peter North, Artistic Director

Peter North, Artistic Director

Roots and Blues artistic director Peter North is already busy booking a world of music for the 2015 festival.

To help sign the acts he wants, organizers are hosting a benefit concert/dance on March 14, 2015, with The Powder Blues headlining.

“They are one of three top-selling Canadian blues acts in Canada,” says North, noting other acts will be announced in the coming weeks. “Obviously as much as a party to celebrate Roots and Blues, who better to celebrate with than a Canadian roots and blues institution.?”

He is grateful for a decision by city council to provide an additional $50,000 in the revised budget.

“It’s significant what they did,” he said. “And it allows us to take a deep breath and get on with righting the ship.”

But North points out there are sizeable benefits to the community.

“This is an event that promotes Salmon Arm across Western Canada and into the entire Pacific Northwest,” he says. “The benefit of Salmon Arm being linked to the festival, the ripple is huge.”

North and the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society board are not relying solely on council’s generosity.

They have organized a raffle with a five-day trip for two to San Francisco.

Only 3,000 tickets will be sold and the winners of this and other prizes will be announced at the benefit show/dance that will be held at the Shaw Centre.

Details are being ironed out and North expects the raffle tickets to be available for Christmas gift-giving, along with tickets to the 2015 festival.

Looking beyond area residents who can easily attend the live event in March, North says the raffle will allow people in all parts of the region to support this festival.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal prize package for music-lovers of roots and blues, jazz and folk music,” he says.

On the booking front, North says he is glad to be into his second year and able to “paint his own picture.”

“I’m booking some pretty well-known blues acts from both sides of the border and there will be more headliners,” he says, pointing out he has a fine representation of African and Afro-Cuban music and a great balance between veteran acts and emerging artists that are becoming known in a very short space of time. “Certainly the message I am getting from agents and managers is that this still remains one of the best festivals to play, in terms of audience reaction, crews and a general overall good vibe. They want their artists to play here.”

“There have obviously been hurdles to overcome but the festival does not suffer from lack of audience,” he says. “Anyone who is there Saturday night knows this community wants the festival, it’s about how we tweak the equation.”

Back from a large gathering of artistic directors, North points out numbers were down at festivals across the country in 2014.

Folk Music Society chair Lody Kieken says the board is optimistic about the festival.

“We’re very happy and delighted that council gave us the money – that council realizes the contribution the festival makes to the cultural and economic life of Salmon Arm,” he says, noting the society paid all this year’s bills but did not have any money in the kitty for next year’s as the cash flow starts in January when tickets go on sale.


Salmon Arm Observer