Music man: Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North is the recipient of a prestigious Maple Blues Award.

Music man: Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North is the recipient of a prestigious Maple Blues Award.

Artistic director wins blues booster award

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North has been honoured for his longtime contribution

  • Jan. 7, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival artistic director Peter North has been honoured for his longtime contribution to the Canadian Blues industry.

North is the recipient of the Toronto Blues Society’s Blues Booster of the Year Award, a special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry.

“Held in high regard by his peers and musicians across Canada, North has spent more than 40 years wearing many hats to promote blues artists in various capacities; including working as a journalist with the Edmonton Journal, CBC television, a radio host, concert promoter, talent buyer, his involvement with the University  of Alberta and Folkways Alive! and now as the current artistic director of the impressive Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival,” notes a Blues Society press release.

North spent his early teens listening to blues music and attending concerts by legendary blues artists and then began producing concerts and dances while in his late teens and early 20s – with blues music being a common thread.

He notes that growing up listening to Holger Petersen’s longtime CKUA radio show, Natch’l Blues, was pivotal in his appreciation and love of blues music.

“Peter North has long played – and continues to play – a major part in the blues scene in Western Canada,” says Richard Flohil. “His passion and enthusiasm for blues –and all kinds of other roots music – has been a touchstone for musicians and audiences alike.”

On receiving the Blues Booster of the Year Award, the humble North said, “I was very surprised to receive a call that I was being named a recipient of this award and, of course, I am very honoured,” said North.

He noted there are many other individuals working hard to  keep the blues alive and healthy in Canada and to be singled out this year came out of left field.

“This kind of recognition from the Toronto Blues Society makes one take stock, reflect and look in the rear- view mirror for a minute. With that comes a reminder of how special this cultural industry is and how fortunate I’ve been to work in so many capacities in the world of blues music.”

North continues to be inspired by great artists – the driving force behind his efforts to build a great festival in Salmon Arm.

This years Roots and Blues Festival runs Aug. 14 to 16 and earlybird pricing is in effect until Feb. 27.

North has already announced three acts for what is usually the hottest show of the season: Canned Heat, from New Orleans, Stooges Brass Band from (Trombone Shorty’s alma mater when he was a teen) and UK’s, Oysterband.

Tickets are available at www.rootsandblues.ca or by calling 250-833-4096.

In the meantime, a special “Doin’ it Right” benefit concert featuring Powder Blues Band takes place at 8 p.m. March 14 at the Shaw Centre. Visit the website for information on the festival and the benefit concert.