The Nakusp Music Festival should be a fun community event for locals and visitors alike. People could come from all around the Kootenays, and beyond, to meet and greet with all the other folks in celebration of this spectacular area. This isn’t the case now because it is too darn expensive.
We have lived in the area for 15 years now. Last year, for the first time, we were vendors at the festival. What we learned last summer above all else, was people love to come here to soak up the magic of Nakusp, if only for this one weekend. They look forward to it like a reward, a reprise from the chaos of their busy lives.
People are always delighted to see a celebrity, but this is not the commodity we are selling here. We are selling the experience of the Nakusp Music Festival. Not just a party for people from away, but a celebration of the music of the area.
I don’t understand, and find it hard to believe, how talented local professional musicians, like Barb Murphy, Rippin’ Rattlers, and “Brother Ray” Lemelin, off the top of my head, have never had a gig on this venue. Surely the party would be awesome and the revelers would lack for nothing. Paying for bands playing songs people have heard for years could be replaced with fresh new sounds for the delight of the paying customers.
Local bands draw local people, local people are who we need to support this community because their contribution to our economy gets us through the winter. Less famous bands cost less and less travel makes a “greener” event. Most of all the savings could make the gate price attractive enough for everyone and encourage people to bring their families and friends, which would enhance the experience for of all.
As a vendor, with all our costs paid up front, it was very disheartening to see all the vendors waiting in their booths, watching when the sets ended, as streams of people lined up for food and drink, never to have been exposed to our booths at all. The vendors should be where people can shop and enjoy the show at the same time, mixing the food vendors with the others. This would also increase the “festival” feeling of the show.
How does one keep costs down and increase revenue? Lower your overhead. Cater to your steady customers. Give people what they want, when and where they want it. With all the work of the passionate volunteers, the beauty of Nakusp and all her wonderful amenities, and the quality and vivaciousness of the local music talent, we could make this a festival that will satisfy the community’s needs.