Maggie Davis and her team at Art Revelstoke recently wrapped up their successful summer concert series, REVY. Live Outside, which featured a new performance every night downtown from July-September.
If you’re from Revelstoke and don’t know who Davis is, you’ve likely still seen her and her teams working. REVY. Live Outside was a massive undertaking as the group had to find performers for two months’ worth of concerts. The concerts –all 58 of them– were a hit.
When it comes to taking on the massive challenge of putting on shows for an entire summer, Davis says you start with the obvious.
“So, the first step is booking 58 bands,” said Davis with a laugh.
The task is easily stated, but is much more involved than it may seem. Booking the bands started in January of this year.
As the group sifted through the incoming band applications, they had to keep their directive at the forefront of their minds.
“For us –for Art Revelstoke– we really want[ed] to have more diversity,” said Davis.
The group booked bands from all over. International talents and bands from across Canada all signed on to perform in Revelstoke.
“We could have nothing but folk bands every single night, but it’s so nice to have a variety,” said Davis.
Several local groups took to the stage, too.
“We also really love showcasing our local talent, because we have a lot of it,” said Davis.
If finding 58 performers wasn’t hard enough, finding artists that were likely to please the whole audience made the choices even harder.
“Music is challenging, because it’s like food and everyone has a different taste. So, you know, you really try to cater to everybody’s taste,” said Davis.
With the bands starting to trickle in, Davis had to work to figure out which band could perform when. This, Davis jokingly referred to as “people-wrangling,” quickly proved tough to overcome.
Bands are trying to find their way back at the tail end of the pandemic. Some bands, Davis said, hadn’t performed in over two years, others didn’t have the finances to afford gas, while some bands were so out of practice that they had shorter setlists than normal.
Davis managed to navigate precarious hoops to bring performances to Revelstoke for two-months. But her work didn’t come without a couple of close-calls, she said.
“I think it was like a Tuesday or something like that, and our Saturday band, one of the local bands actually hurt himself at work,” said Davis.
Ensuring that the show still went on, Davis proceeded to speedily re-book a performer who was scheduled for the following Saturday to play a week early. Davis said moments like that were few-and-far-between.
She said the community makes all the effort worthwhile.
“I think overall, the community is very supportive of this festival,” said Davis.
The festival is one of British Columbia’s longest-running music festivals. This year, the name changed from previous years, but live downtown performances in Revelstoke are a long-standing tradition, according to Davis.
“You talk to locals now and they’re like: ‘oh, man, I remember my first time. Like, my mom let me out of the house, like to go anywhere with my friends was to go listen to the music downtown,’” said Davis.
Davis said the event was a community effort to pull off.
“We worked with some incredible local restaurants this year to feed our artists, the Regent put up all of our bands. So, we’re so fortunate for them because we would not have been able to do this without them,” said Davis.
She also said her team behind the scenes were instrumental. The group responsible for the event was comprised of Frank Kim, Alexis Welch, Jace Preenan, Callum O’Hare, and Josiah Olson, who Davis lovingly referred to as her “dream team.”
Davis is open to the challenge again next year, but as all non-profit work goes, it will depend heavily on what they can budget for.