One of the hottest topics in this small town has been about the Nakusp Music Fest (NMF). Mixed with anxious concern, cynicism and over all disappointment, expressions such as ‘will they’, ‘what’s happening’, ‘how is that going to affect us’, ‘have you heard’ has started most questions.
The answers for months have been quite vague as postings on NMF website and facebook page have been leading up to an announcement of whether or not the show will go on.
The NMF wants to live on, the Peoples support is measurable to a mountain and the sincerity of the NRMS to deliver is unquestionable. Everyone has wanted to know what’s happening. After all for eight years running NMF has garnered great reviews like; “delivering world-class music and family entertainment”; “the most successful Rock Festival in Western Canada” and “BC Interior’s most popular classic rock festival”.
The announcement was finally made on January 18, 2012 on the NMF facebook page it read, "It is with deep regret that we announce we will not be hosting a 2012 music festival. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all of our fantastic supporters during the past years. It is our hope that a 2013 music festival may be a possibility that would welcome you back to our beautiful area. The Board, Nakusp Roots Music Society.” According to the Valley Voice newspaper, Donna Rebman, president of the NRMS, says the board is not prepared to comment right now.
The NRMS desperately tried to carry on with the festival despite financial trouble. They rallied for more local support last September as published in both the Arrow Lakes News (ALN) and the Revelstoke Review reporting a loss in 2010 and 2011 due to low ticket sales caused by the economy and another festival, Sturgess North, being held on the same weekend.
According to the Penticton Western News last October the same type of festival is slated for July 27 - 29th, 2012 in Penticton and will be called Rock the Peach Music Fest. As quoted on the new festivals website home page, “…We guarantee you that this show will be the best the BC interior has ever seen… iRock Entertainment Inc. has put together an all Canadian production team which is second to none… It is our intention to establish “Rock the Peach Music Fest” in Penticton as one of North-America’s finest…”
To understand the relationship between this new festival and NMF can be found on at the end of the quote on the new festivals home page. Willi Jahnke of iRock Entertainment Inc., producer of Rock the Peach Music Fest, is also who produced the NMF as Octopus Productions Inc. According to a quote on NMF website it states, “… the Nakusp Music Fest is governed by the Nakusp Roots Music Society…The festival is produced by Octopus Productions Inc., a Nakusp, BC-based entertainment company”. As noted in NMF brochures, Willi Jahnke was president of the NRMS for two years. In 2006, before the 3rd Annual Music Fest, he resigned. Now as Octopus Productions Inc., he was hired by the NRMS to produce the festival.
The small group of society members founded in 2004 created the concepts, the templates, the ideas, and the inspirations to what became the most successful Rock Festival in Western Canada. It was created to help boost tourism and income for small business. Members of the community and Village council gave of their time, money and comfort to create this ‘one of a kind Music Festival’. People want to know if it is fair and/or is it the right of the production company, a former president of NRMS to create the same festival in a different location. For some it is a question of moral responsibility.
Stated in a recent article from ALN, Kim Reich, president of the Nakusp Chamber of Commerce said ‘the loss of the festival will be a big blow. There are debts to pay as well as a revenue shortfall, compounded by the loss of future business.’
The people of Nakusp have an economical hardship to face. Some families are moving to find work out of town. Nakusp is a beautiful, small town with a rich history. When push comes to shove, people stick up for one another, they pull together and help one another in good times and in bad or at least, I thought they did. Perhaps in this case the infamous quote, “Well that’s Showbiz!” may come to mind.