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Council shares support of decision to cancel ROOTSandBLUES

‘The resounding sort of feeling that I got was disappointment and understanding’
Carrying their festival chairs on their backs, these people were among many leaving the 2023 ROOTSandBlues Festival site Saturday morning, Aug. 19, after it was cancelled. (Martha Wickett photo)

Gratitude was shared at council for support of the decision to cancel this year’s ROOTSandBLUES Festival.

The annual three-day weekend event (Aug. 18-20) was cancelled Saturday in response to the Bush Creek East wildfire, which had spread through the North Shuswap, Skwlax te Secwepemculecw and part of south Shuswap, prompting evacuation orders.

In an Aug. 19 media release issued by the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society (SAFMS), festival director David Gonella said cancelling the event “was a difficult decision and one we did not take lightly.”

“As communities in the north and south Shuswap face evacuation orders and alerts, and following direct communication with local fire officials and the RCMP, the Society made the difficult decision Saturday morning,” said SAFMS.

Coun. Gonella wasn’t at the Aug. 28 city council meeting, so Coun. Sylvia Lindgren, council’s ROOTSandBLUES Festival liaison, spoke about the cancellation.

“The decisions made by the board and supported by the volunteers and people that were attending the ROOTSandBLUES Festival last weekend were really appreciated…,” said Lindgren, who thanked the community the “casual approach” people have taken regarding tickets/refunds.

“All those kinds of announcements will come from the ROOTSandBLUES Festival in the future, ” said Lindgren, who offered a “real heartfelt thanks to the community for supporting that decision.”

Mayor Alan Harrison shared his support of the decision to cancel the festival Saturday.

“The resounding sort of feeling that I got was disappointment and understanding,” said Harrison. “So thank you to all the volunteers down there on the day, Saturday morning. A number of us were down that way. It was an incredibly smooth exit of hundreds and hundreds… of campers. Thank you to the RCMP, thank you to security, firefighters and the volunteers and especially to the campers – it was quite amazing to watch.”
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