Sturgis North is returning to the Shuswap in 2013.
A joint news release from Joan Hansen, president of Sturgis North, and Chief Judy Wilson, chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band, was issued Wednesday, Nov. 7, announcing that Sturgis North and the Neskonlith band will be hosting the 2013 Sturgis North Annual All Make Motorcycle Jamboree and Music Festival.
In a follow-up phone interview, Hansen said the event will not be in Salmon Arm but is proposed for Neskonlith land closer to Chase – and will be held in August, not July.
“Our feedback from our patrons was they really wanted to have water. We lost a lot of people to the different lakes,” she said. “We want to have more of a waterfront location. We want people to have fun and not have to leave.”
In July 2011 the motorcycle rally and music festival was held on two sites – the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds and Neskonlith land in Gleneden.
This summer, it moved to the Spallumcheen MotoPlex Speedway.
Hansen said a portion of the event will remain in Spallumcheen.
“It was a tough decision, the motoplex is a really great venue. There are still going to be some events at the motoplex,” she said, noting Sturgis is on good terms with the owner.
When the event was held in Salmon Arm in 2011, it left a bad taste in the mouths of some businesses. Several were not paid for the services they provided.
“We’re going to be getting something together with the people, once we have the property secured… We will sit down with the creditors,” Hansen said, adding that Sturgis North would like to set up an account to pay off debts owed.
Hansen said Sturgis set up a restructuring company that advised them to pay creditors reduced amounts. She said she doesn’t agree with reductions, even though it will take longer to pay people what they’re owed.
“Even if it takes five years, our plan is to pay off all legitimate debt. There was a lot of illegitimate debt,” she added, contending that Sturgis was over-charged for many services.
“The costs were $2.6 million,” she said of 2011. “This year it was only $700,000. That’s a lot of over-billing. With that in mind, I think we’ll do fine.”
She said the event hasn’t made money yet, but similar events don’t for the first four years. She pointed to the Merritt music festival and the Live Nation festival in Squamish.
“It’ll take a couple of years; it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re not going to aim for a huge festival – we’re going to shorten the days and bring the prices down.”
Asked about former Sturgis president Ray Sasseville, Hansen said he’s no longer involved.
“He’s pursuing his music and writing a book,” she said, explaining that he is working on a recording label for up-and-coming artists.
Wilson was unavailable for comment.