It may not have been the 29th annual ROOTSandBLUES organizers hoped for, but for the safety of concertgoers it was the festival that was meant to be.
On Friday and Saturday, Aug. 13 and 14, while the air in Salmon Arm was thick with the smoke of wildfires burning in the region, web browsers on about 4,500 computers and other electronic devices were alight with this year’s Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES presentation of its free Altered States II concerts. Both night’s shows were also screened for free at the Salmar Classic theatre.
The screenings included a welcome from Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison, Salmon Arm Folk Music Society chair Kimm Magill-Hofman and Adams Lake Band Kukpi7 (Chief) Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief, before delving into a select line-up of artists performing in studios in White Rock, Edmonton and Winnipeg for the ROOTSandBLUES audience. CBC Radio’s Chris Walker introduced each of the acts, while ROOTSandBLUES artistic director Peter North interviewed some of the artists.
“Those are always fun and all of the artists are veterans, even if they’re younger, they’ve got pretty full careers so they’ve got great perspective and stories to tell,” said North. “And then people like The Small Glories, they’re just full of chatter. Even if you’re not interviewing them, they provide lots of discourse between tunes.”
Friday night’s lineup included performances by artists Ben Sures, William Prince, Brent Parkin and The Small Glories, with Jon & Roy closing out the night. Saturday’s lineup included Blue Moon Marquee, Jesse Roper and Celeigh Cardinal. Closing out Altered States II was ROOTSandBLUES veteran Colin James, whose skilled musicianship was on display through footage from his 2018 Main Stage performance, as well as in-studio acoustic renditions of some of his classics played just for this year’s ROOTSandBLUES audience.
“I was happy with the performances too, I thought there was a good variety there…,” said North, who was not only impressed with the line-up but the overall quality the Altered States II package. “I was really happy with the way we integrated the archival footage of Colin James from the Main Stage and what he gave us doing those new versions of those acoustic tunes, and having the little introductions to them. I thought that was a nice way to go out.”
While this year’s performers may not have been able to hear the applause and cheers of their audience, many who caught the show commended the musicians and the overall weekend presentation on the ROOTSandBLUES Facebook page, with some fans sharing photos of themselves watching and enjoying the event.
“I think what we did online measured up against anything else that was out there very positively,” said North. “It was a job well done by all the participants.”
As with last year, the decision to do another virtual ROOTSandBLUES Festival was driven by uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Altered States II is still available to view on the Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES website.
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