For two months in the summer, Grizzly Plaza is the place to be. Plastic patio chairs litter the brick road and tunes ranging from string jigs to brass refrains float down Mackenzie Avenue as dozens of live bands perform during Revelstoke Arts Council’s free Summer Street Festival.
Miriam Manley, who began in March as executive director of Revelstoke Arts Council has a dream for the festival: professional sound.
That dream was met about 50 per cent of the time this summer with the help of a P.A. system purchased alongside the City of Revelstoke.
“It’s a great system: speakers, sound system, everything,” said Manley. “The problem is that we have to hire a technician to run the sound for us, which is expensive.”
During the course of a presentation to city council this week, Manley requested a “small increase” in the funding the festival gets from the city to have a technician run the sound every night.
Manley said that the festival is mainly funded by the City, but that this year 10 per cent of their money was raised from other sources.
The length of the festival and its entrance fee – free – disqualifies it from a lot of other funding opportunities.
“We do really appreciate and think it’s important that the city supports this,” said Manley.
The festival won the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism and Attractions Excellence Award, bringing about 20,000 people from 26 countries to Revelstoke this summer. The average attendance each night was 256 people.
In a survey conducted by the Revelstoke Arts Council, 87 per cent of visitors asked said that their experience at the music festival made them more likely to return or extend their stay in Revelstoke.
The street festival got a brand redesign this year and was active on social media throughout the summer.
“Kudos to all of you involved,” said councillor Linda Nixon.”I always said it was going to be the arts community that was going to make a difference in the shoulder seasons.”
There was no motion on the table, so council was not required to vote on the request for more funding.