I was interested to see that the taxpayers of Salmon Arm are picking up the bill to keep the Roots and Blues Festival going next year.
City council said that the festival is good for Salmon Arm; or should they have said businesses in Salmon Arm. It certainly brings money, traffic, noise and some good music to town for a week each summer, but where’s the lasting benefit to most of the people who live here? When was the last $95,000 town investment in supporting any permanent local arts?
The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society has a long and proud history in this town, starting small and creating something extraordinary. In 2008 a group of local business interests on their board of directors gained control of the festival by very callously ousting the artistic director Linda Tanaka, who was there from the beginning. They seem to have been successful in turning what was a profitable enterprise into another draw on the taxpayer.
Should taxpayer dollars be given to the same group that got the Roots & Blues Festival into this position, or is it time for a change of guard?