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Shuswap, Music Capital of BC: Plans underway to create a regional destination

Salmon Arm council expresses support for funding application to develop strategic plan
Salmon Arm Folk Music Society would like to see the Shuswap recognized as the Music Capital of B.C. (File photo)

Shuswap, Music Capital of BC.

The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society (SAFMS) would like to see the Shuswap become a recognized regional destination for music.

Salmon Arm council received a letter from David Gonella, executive director of the ROOTSandBLUES Festival, asking for council’s support for an application to the federal Tourism Relief Program.

“As we look towards recovery, SAFMS has the vision to leverage that success and extensive experience along with our important Indigenous culture and our regional home, to grow an annual festival to a recognized destination; Shuswap, Music Capital of BC.”

The Tourism Relief Program supports businesses and organizations which are adapting to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth.

Gonella’s letter explained the purpose of the project is to develop a strategic plan, so the application funding would be used to hire a consultant to lead plan development.

Coun. Kevin Flynn, chair of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board, said he is excited about the plan.

“He (Gonella) was telling me about this initiative to work in the region… Nobody has called themselves the Music Capital of BC. So for us to do it as a region, it’s pretty exciting,” Flynn said. “And there’s a new festival coming in Sicamous, ROOTSandBLUES is back, there’s always been a festival in Sorrento, we all have the different days of the week where we have live music, so I think this is really exciting.”

Gonella’s letter explained he would like the City of Salmon Arm to be a partner, or at least a supporter, of the project. He said Margaret McCormick has been retained to help with the application and lead the writing of the tourism plan. Joyce Kenoras will be the Indigenous representative on the project.

City council voted unanimously to send a letter of support for the application, which Mayor Alan Harrison said he would be happy to write.

Read more: Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES’ Kevin Tobin talks festivals, music and all that jazz

Read more: Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival ponders multi-venue format with streaming in 2021
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Alan - I’ll be happy to write that letter on behalf of council.

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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