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New artistic director announced for Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival

Salmon Arm Folk Music Society offers praise for outgoing director Peter North
Outgoing artistic director Peter North and artist liaison Tori Jewell discuss preparations for 2019’s 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival. (Barb Brouwer photo)

With another online festival in the bag and a 30th anniversary event to plan for, the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society has brought onboard a new artistic director for the Salmon Arm’s ROOTSandBLUES Festival.

Kevin Tobin is the festival’s new artistic director, taking over the reins from Peter North who submitted his resignation on Sept. 7. Two days later, the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society (SAFMS) and ROOTSandBLUES announced Tobin, artistic director with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival of 18 years, had been hired.

“ROOTSandBLUES has a rich history of presenting world-class artists from home and abroad that reflect the diverse Salmon Arm community,” commented Tobin in a Sept. 9 media release. “I’m excited to work with the dedicated board, staff, volunteers, stakeholders, and sponsors of the festival. The ability to complement the talented staff with my artistic programming experience and call Salmon Arm home is an incredible opportunity.”

A Durham College entertainment administration graduate, Tobin received the 2009 Fred Heal Tourism Ambassador Award and was a 2013 Lieutenant Governor Leadership in the Arts nominee. He said he is honoured to be entrusted by SAFMS to continue the festival’s “long and storied tradition of supporting and showcasing regional musicians as well as bringing renowned artists to Salmon Arm.”

“I look forward to being accessible to festival fans to ensure we deliver programming that excites and engages new and current patrons,” said Tobin.

SAFMS board chair Kimm Magill-Hofmann said applications for the artistic director position were received from several qualified candidates.

“The committee created an extensive interview process to ensure we were getting a great artistic director who would be a good fit,” says Magill-Hofmann. “We are very excited to have Kevin join our team and are looking forward to building on the legacy that Peter leaves.”

Tobin follows North, who joined the society and ROOTSandBLUES as artistic director in 2014.

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“Peter has been wonderful to work with over the last seven years,” said ROOTSandBLUES executive director David Gonella. “I have had the pleasure to work with two previous artistic directors, and Peter’s expertise, musical tastes and his unique approach to workshop programming helped to sustain the legacy of the Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival.”

North’s workshops also received praise from fans and musicians, added Magill-Hofmann.

“Peter has a knack for putting musicians together and giving them the right nudge to create something you’ll never see anywhere else. These have been some of the most memorable performances of the festivals,” said Magill-Hofmann. “I have fond memories of seeing Peter on the grounds during the festival with a big grin on his face, happy about how well things were going.”

According to the media release, North helped guide ROOTSandBLUES forward, leading to a string of highly successful years before the ongoing pandemic pushed both the 2020 and 2021 festivals online.

North had been on a contract with ROOTSandBLUES, and the contract was set to expire after this year’s festival.

“From everyone at the society, we’d like to thank Peter for his dedication and leadership over the past seven years,” said Gonella. “He truly helped shape the festival that thousands have come to know and love.”

For more information about the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society or to watch Altered States II, this year’s online festival, visit
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Kevin Tobin, longtime artistic director with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, will be filling the void left by outgoing Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES artistic director Peter North. (Contributed)

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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