- Our Town
Interns plan the Routes
The intimate performances of Routes and Blues were centred around the quaint cultures of Shuswap communities. Each visit on the route highlighted the history and characteristics of the place, so it might come as a surprise that the ladies who organized Routes and Blues only first set foot in the Shuswap seven months ago.
“I think we know these communities better than lots of the local people now,” Nina Reichle laughed.
Studying international leisure management at the University of Applied Sciences in Breda, Netherlands, Reichle and Fen van der Kruit ventured to Canada in January for an internship with Routes and Blues.
As lovers of music, even minoring in creative industry, they saw the opportunity as an ideal international experience for an internship. They’re the only two students in their program that are doing their internship in Canada.
“You want to go out in the world and experience a new way of living,” van der Kruit said, adding that world travel was one reason for choosing to study international leisure.
This was van der Kruit’s second time visiting Canada and Reichle’s first. Both agreed that the most attractive things about the country are the scenery and the people, whom they described as welcoming and good-hearted. Reichle said she was surprised by the American influence in Canada and also struggled with the concept of First Nations reserves.
“It was difficult for me to see,” she said. “But you do have a good country over here.”
Upon arrival they had their work cut out for them. Routes and Blues aims to “facilitate experiences with various cultural elements, interactions with nature and the promotion of local economic prosperity throughout the Shuswap.” They now laugh about how knowledgeable they’ve become about the communities and Canadian performers.
Hugo Rampen was the mastermind behind artist recruitment but Reichle and van der Kruit worked closely with community members to organize venues, promote the events and make sure each show went off without a hitch.
Following in the footsteps of previous interns, they booked venues that have hosted Routes and Blues concerts before, such as Malakwa and Seymour Arm. New this year, however, were Notch Hill and Falkland.
“Notch Hill was the best example of our outreach program because most people don’t go there,” said van der Kruit.
Notch Hill is also home to the oldest hall within the Shuswap and both Reichle and van der Kruit enjoyed learning a bit of history, despite being in a generally young area like the Shuswap.
Routes and Blues is a non-profit program so they also had the opportunity to help out the communities they got to know so well. Notch Hill used the money to fix up their kitchen and Seymour Arm is raising money for an ambulance.
“We were so glad to get to help them and getting people into these communities,” said van der Kruit.
Shuswap Trail Alliance designed and led the hikes, but Reichle and van der Kruit decided to change it up this year and have them in the morning. They think it hurt attendance in the end but saw it as a learning experience and one to note for future interns.
Communicating with the artists was definitely another learning experience, they said. Patience was key but they described them all as friendly and easy to work with. They said Shred Kelly really enjoyed the community meal in Malakwa and Five Alarm Funk liked the community concept.
“We learned that being an artist is not always fun,” said van der Kruit. “It seems really awesome, but it’s their job and it’s not always easy.”
Reichle flew back to the Netherlands on Monday and van der Kruit is here touring the country for another month.
Both look forward to returning to Europe and carrying their knowledge of festival work to new projects.