Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES organizers are ready to celebrate the festival’s 30th anniversary in 2022 with a return to live, in-person performances. (File photo)

Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES organizers are ready to celebrate the festival’s 30th anniversary in 2022 with a return to live, in-person performances. (File photo)

Year in Review: ROOTSandBLUES ready to flick on light at end of the tunnel

Salmon Arm Folk Music Society/ROOTSandBLUES reflects on 2021, looks to year ahead

  • Dec. 26, 2021 7:00 p.m.

The show must go on.

When COVID-19 put a halt to in-person events in 2020, the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society (SAFMS) made the difficult decision to cancel the 28th annual Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival.

Fuelled by the resiliency of the community, the festival moved online for three nights and provided fans with an outlet, a beacon of light at the end of a dark tunnel. Besides, there was always the 29th annual in 2021.

The calendar turned over, and restrictions began to ease. Outdoor in-person events were permitted with limited capacity. Though, plans were already underway for a second virtual festival: Altered States II.

Recorded on stages and in performance halls across the country, Altered States II beamed festival favourites and renowned touring artists into the living rooms, backyards and mobile phones of nearly 10,000 fans in all corners of the world.

“Thank you, ROOTSandBLUES,” a viewer wrote on Facebook. “Recalling the good old days dancing under a big moon on the grass by the big stage and the thrill of the northern lights.”

The show went on.

It has been two years since fans of ROOTSandBLUES have gathered together, in person, to dance under a big moon on the grass in Salmon Arm. Two years of virtual festivals, growth and introspection.

And the SAFMS has been far from idle.

A new video editing suite and professional video cameras empowered the society to create compelling online content as a value-added feature to traditional in-person events. And, when ROOTSandBLUES returns, it will do so greener without the need to rent generators on-site thanks to the completion of the generator reduction program.

As the calendar once again flips to a new year, the SAFMS is optimistic about the future under the leadership of acclaimed artistic director Kevin Tobin.

Read more: Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES fans applaud Altered States II concert via social media

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

“The Salmon Arm arts community is resilient,” says Tobin. “Throughout the past two years, amidst evolving public health orders, that resiliency has manifested in new and unique ways of banding together. Adapting to produce a world-class festival in an entirely different way generates momentum. We’re taking that momentum forward as we plan for our grand return and anniversary celebrations ahead.”

And, for the SAFMS, there couldn’t be a better time for restrictions to ease.

“Right now, we all need hope—a light at the end of the tunnel,” says executive director David Gonella. “Sometimes we have to search for the light. In this case, we’re flicking the switch ourselves as we look forward to seeing everyone celebrating together again.”

For the Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival’s 30th birthday Aug. 18-21, as many as 30,000 people will come together once again to celebrate the magic of live music. Musicians will play late into the Shuswap night as the beat reverberates through a crowd full of friends new and old.

Experience world-class music against the backdrop of Mt. Ida. Let the music take over and dance late into the night.

The show will go on.
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