Despite the cancellation of this year’s Summer Street Fest, there were still opportunities for live music in Revelstoke.
Guerrilla Gigs was a concert series of secret shows held at some of Revelstoke’s most iconic locations, from the ski hill and Lake Revelstoke to the river flats and Railway Museum.
For eight weeks, each show was announced a week prior with less than 50 tickets available. The shows were so secret, ticket holders were asked to not show the locations with friends and pets.
“Not even your mom,” reads an email with a ticket, given to Revelstoke Review staff.
The pandemic forced the closure of music festivals across Canada, but Miriam Manley, director of Revelstoke Arts Council, said she didn’t want live music to be completely locked down.
“It’s special to be with people as they make music. Instead of just listening to recordings.”
Although each gig was small, Manley said they weren’t without challenges. “I had moments where I just wanted to walk away.”
It’s not easy putting together weekly concerts at remote locations outside during a pandemic. There are health risks, weather, power problems, parking troubles and getting permission.
After each concert, a YouTube video of the event was posted to highlight the show.
“We wanted it to be a cultural calling card for Revelstoke,” said Manley.
One memorable concert said Manley was Celeigh Cardinal at the Railway Museum.
“Anything that could have gone wrong, did.”
It was above 30 degrees with heat radiating off metal carriages, noisy trains kept passing and midway through the show the jet sprinklers went off, forcing everyone to run for cover.
Despite all the trouble, Manley said some of the audience cried – they were just so happy to be at a live music event again.
“It was still an amazing show.”
There was huge demand for tickets; the Shred Kelly show sold out in four seconds.
In Manley’s eight years at the arts council, never has a show sold that fast.
“People are clearly missing live music.”
While LUNA this fall was delayed until next year, another smaller event is planned.
There will be a concert on Sept. 25 for a limited audience that will also be live-streamed. The day after, three more additions to Art Alleries project will open.