The Revelstoke Arts Council is planning to host two shoulder-season music festivals in Revelstoke, the first in late September of 2015.
The arts council’s application for $50,000 in funding from the Revelstoke Tourism Infrastructure Committee was approved by council in late March.
Arts council chairperson Carol Palladino explained the funding will be used to hire an administrator to organize the festival.
The plan is to host an event timed around the summer solstice in the third week in June, then another in late September.
Although the funding is not 100 per cent confirmed yet, Palladino explained the Arts Council is planning to hire Hugo Rampen as the events organizer.
Rampen is the current administrator, executive director and artistic director of the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society, which hosts the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival. He’s worked on the festival since 2006 and is planning to leave soon, Palladino said.
She said the idea is to create “multi-venue, multi-genre music festival” with something for everyone.
It won’t be a set genre of music: “It’s not going to be a reggae festival and it’s not going to be a blues festival,” she said.
Instead, the arts council wants to create something that will attract a broad audience. They hope to use many city venues like bars, clubs, churches, theatres and other performance spaces. Their funding proposal also calls for use of space at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
“The goal is to bring people from out of town,” Palladino said, adding that the yet-unnamed festival “needs to be embraced by the people who live here, it needs to be representative of the community that is hosting it.”
Revelstoke has hosted arts and music festivals in the past, but they all eventually died out because they were volunteer-run, and volunteers are susceptible to burnout.
“We need to really kick it up a notch,” Palladino said.
How big of a deal will the festival be? What kind of scale? Currently, the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival attracts about 15,000 people each year.
“We’re not going to hit the ground at 15,000 people,” Palladino said. “But I think if we’re going to grow some successful events, I think we need the expertise, we need the planning; we need to have that good foundation to be able to move forward.” She said the arts council would be happy with an inaugural turnout of 2,500 to 3,000 people.
The $50,000 will help pay for the services provided by Rampen and his company in the first two years. “We are putting a structure in place to move it forward,” Palladino said.