Noting the financial pressures music festivals in B.C. are facing, Salmon Arm council once again lent its support to using farmland for camping during the city’s Roots & Blues Festival in August.
In 2013, 2016 and 2018, the owners of agricultural land at 460 10th Ave. SW received multi-year non-farm use approvals from the Agricultural Land Commission for the north section of the 3.3-hectare (8.34-acre) property.
Owners Loa and Dayton Page also received a three-year temporary use permit from the city in May 2022 to enable the camping use.
Coun. Kevin Flynn pointed out at council’s Jan. 23 meeting that at least two major music festivals in B.C. might not be held this year due to significant costs of equipment, performers, inflation and lack of ticket sales.
“I think anything we can do as a community to support our wonderful festival that brought 28,000 people here last year over three days – maybe not 28,000 separate ones – but 28,000 went through the gate over the three days… The camping is a huge advantage for the festival over many others so I very much feel this is a positive.”
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Squamish Constellation Festival both announced in mid-January that cancellation was imminent. The Vancouver folk fest has since reported that because of an outpouring of support the festival board is reviewing the proposed cancellation.
Mayor Alan Harrison said the owners of the Salmon Arm property have done a very good job in the past bringing the land back to its agricultural state immediately following the festival.
Harrison emphasized what an important event the festival is for the city and said he’s hopeful the land commission will again authorize the non-farm use. The festival is scheduled for Aug. 17 to 20, 2023.
Council voted unanimously to authorize submission of the land owners’ application to the land commission.