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New committee formed to help organize Osoyoos summer music festival for 2014
The Town of Osoyoos is going to host a music festival next summer, says the new chair of the local organizing committee.
“This is going to happen,” said Mike Campol, the general manager of the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Spa and Resort and new chair of the Osoyoos Music Festival Committee.
Following a meeting that attracted 30 stakeholders from the community early last week to Spirit Ridge, Campol said momentum and excitement is building to bring a summer music festival to this community.
“We’re looking at dates in the lull right after the Canada Day weekend … a lot of local businesses have commented on how they’ve noticed a dramatic drop in business following this weekend,” said Campol. “We want to bring something to town that will attract people and generate some excitement in the community.
“The idea is to have an opening and closing weekend with big name acts at Desert Park and grassroots events during the week at the downtown bandshell in Gyro Park and at local stakeholders’ businesses.”
There are numerous restaurant and bar owners in town who are interested in participating in the music festival by allowing performers and bands to play at their venues, said Campol.
“Whether it’s one guy sitting on a stool playing guitar or a small three-piece band … the whole idea is to generate some buzz and let everyone in the community know that there’s live music in town,” he said.
“There are smaller communities than Osoyoos that are holding blues festivals and jazz festivals and music festivals with great success and there’s no reason we can’t do it here.”
The festival would give local and South Okanagan musicians an opportunity to showcase their talents, while also attracting bigger name acts as headliners on the two weekends of the festival, he said.
Henry Small, the founder of the popular Canadian band Prism and a lifelong musician, shared the story at last week’s meeting of the development of the Music in the Park program in Kamloops.
These events are free to attend and have seen great success over the past few years, said Campol.
Small has been able to book quality talent for good prices and he discussed the possibility of bringing the acts that he books in Kamloops to Osoyoos during the week.
“There are a lot of bands and musicians that are signed for major events in places like Vancouver or Victoria and you can grab them in between these major gigs to come to places like Osoyoos at a very reasonable price,” said Campol.
“We would be very interested in working with other people who are in the business to try and land some really good acts that would love to come to Osoyoos and play behind one of the most beautiful backdrops they could imagine.
“This is a beautiful town with a lot to offer in the summer time and we think we’re going to have great success in bringing in some top talent because of this.”
The new music festival committee will be a sub-committee of Destination Osoyoos, said Campol.
Other members of the executive committee include Jim King, Tim Charron, Stacy Little, Richard Cooper and Steve Ceron, the general manager and group publisher of the Osoyoos Times.
With the popularity of social media, it will be very easy and affordable to promote the music festival, said Campol.
“Before the advent of social media, it was a big job to promote an event like this as your only options were print and word-of-mouth,” he said. “With social media, you can market and get your message out to a lot of people in a very effective way in a hurry and without a lot of cost involved.”
There has been talk about bringing a summer music festival to Osoyoos for many years, but this committee and stakeholders are more determined than ever to make it happen by next July, said Campol.
Campol said he helped organize similar festivals in Ontario and looks forward to making this idea a reality.
“Music is a passion of mine … I’m a music fanatic and I’m in favour of any event that expands the cultural horizons of this community,” he said. “I believe this festival can become a reality and that it can be a success. I’m really excited about it.”
The committee will be meeting again on Sept. 11 and hope to formally announce the official name of the music festival and hopefully set dates, said Campol.
The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at Spirit Ridge and anyone interested in the proposed music festival is welcome to attend.