The Aerialists play a complex yet comforting mix of traditional/folk/rock music with Nordic and Gaelic influences during their Wednesday on the Wharf appearance in Marine Peace Park in July 2018. (File photo)

Net cast for musical acts to play Salmon Arm concert series

Wednesday on the Wharf seeks to entice wide range of musical styles

By Barb Brouwer


It may seem hard to believe, given the weather, but in just over four months another season of the popular Wednesday on the Wharf will open at Marine Peace Park.

The Shuswap District Arts Council is already busy preparing for the mid-June opening and is looking for musicians.

For the past 27 years, people of all ages have gathered to catch up with friends, soak up the sun, and enjoy a wide range of live music from local and touring musicians.

“It’s a Shuswap summertime tradition,” says WOW program manager Astrid Varnes, who notes organizers aim to present a wide range of musical genres, so whether you play bluegrass or klezmer, rockabilly or hip-hop, roots-country fusion or indie Latin-folk, they want to hear from you.

Varnes is casting her musicians’ net wide by providing a new online registration form.

Criteria for consideration in the program that runs from mid-June to the end of August is as follows: Are you a group of two or more musicians? Can your music engage an active audience in a large, open park setting? Are you cool with people sitting on lawn chairs, picnicking on blankets, chatting with their friends and chasing after their kids as you play? Is your music lively and upbeat, guaranteed to get toes tappin’ and heads bobbin’ ? And, can you fill two 45-minute sets with (at minimum) an equal mix of original content and covers?

If you think you fit the bill, go online to, click on the WOW tab at the bottom and follow the directions to submit your application.

While the number of attendees was down last year, donations to the non-profit council was up.

Varnes says that prior to last year, volunteers would wander through the audience during the intermission, seeking contributions for the donation buckets. But the process was as rather hit-and-miss affair. So last year, volunteers were stationed at entry points to the park.

Read more: Hot summer of concerts in store for Salmon Arm

Read more: In photos: Random acts of music shared in downtown Salmon Arm

Donations go to support the artists who are performing.

“That is super important because we’re a non-profit and we rely on these donations to make WOW happen,” said Varnes.

The only other funding the popular summer series receives is through grants and sponsorships.

During the off season,Varnes researched other arts councils to see if what was being done locally was in line with other communities.

“We wanted to make sure we were doing things right so performers would be happy to come here,” says Varnes. “This year, we’re focusing on strengthening sponsorships and grant funding.”

Questions can be sent to Varnes at

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