Revelstoke’s Axis Mundi festival cancelled after first event

The Axis Mundi Festival has been canceled after one event due to financial losses, the organizers announced on Facebook.

Walk Off the Earth headlines the Axis Mundi Harvest Festival at Revelstoke Mountain Resort last September.

Walk Off the Earth headlines the Axis Mundi Harvest Festival at Revelstoke Mountain Resort last September.

The Axis Mundi Festival has been canceled after one event due to financial losses, the organizers announced on Facebook on Monday.

“Axis Mundi won’t be continuing for 2016,” they wrote. “Our September event was victim to some pretty foul weather, which had a significant impact on the bottom line. We have been seeking additional funding to move forward, but it has become apparent we won’t be able to meet our needs.”

Axis Mundi was hoped to be a major shoulder season draw to Revelstoke. The Revelstoke Arts Council contracted with Hugo Rampen, the former organizer of Salmon Arm Roots & Blues, to put on a summer solstice festival and a fall harvest event.

The inaugural festival in September featured major headliners Walk Off the Earth and Ashley MacIsaac, and lesser known groups like Baskery, Buckman Coe, Sticky Fingers and the Nyundo School Roadshow from Rwanda. It also included several guest speakers and outdoor markets.

Shows were held at various venues around town throughout the day while the main event was in the evening at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

However, the festival was greeted by a deluge of rain, which nearly washed out Saturday’s outdoor market and turned the venue at RMR into a giant mud pit.

While the mud added to the vibe – people dubbed the festival Axis Muddy – the rain deterred the last-minute walk-up crowd. In an interview with the Review after the festival, Rampen estimated the rain cost them 1,000 ticket sales.

The result was a festival that was successful artistically, but a failure financially.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Norm Lanlois, the president of the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, who provided funding to support the festival. “We were quite excited about them. We thought it would bring some new business in a quieter period for us.”

Langlois said the expectation was that Rampen would host three festivals. The money made off the first one would go to start up the next two. However, due to the losses, the money wasn’t to get the next event, which was scheduled for June, up and going.

Carol Palladino, the president of the Revelstoke Arts Council, credited Rampen with putting on an amazing event.

“I think Hugo really tried to hit a home run,” she said. “It was a first class lineup but the weather goddess did not shine on the event.

“If the weather had gone differently, this would be a different story.”

On Facebook, the organizers thanked the local supporters, including the Revelstoke Arts Council, the City of Revelstoke, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, various community groups, the venues that hosted events and the volunteers that helped out.