A beautiful sunset was the backdrop for Music in the Park’s final performance of the summer last Wednesday. Organized by Karen Hamling with help from Kathy Smith, Nakusp’s Music in the Park is a free, weekly, live music entertainment show which runs annually throughout the summer.
Approximately 130 people turned out for the last of the musical performances. Many folks in attendance bring their own festival chairs or blankets but seating is also available at the park’s picnic tables, or on the low barriers to the parking lot. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, the show moves inside to the arena instead.
Hamling says she was pleased with the attendance to the shows this season, averaging 100-130 audience members a week. Because the performances are free to attend, the cost can be $400-$500 per week; she says she is grateful to many stakeholders for their contributions.
Going on 17 years, volunteers run the program, doing everything from making the refreshments to head-counting, promotion, organization and more. Karen Hamling is seconded by Pat Dion whenever she can’t be there or if they need more help.
“In the beginning, I knew I needed some financial assisstance to get it going,” says Hamling. Sponsorship has made all the difference.
“The people who sponsor me really make this possible. Kathy (Smith) makes all the juice, proceeds of which helps to fund artist fees and other costs. The K2 Rotor Lodge helps by offering accommodation to the musicians who come from out of town. Rec Commission #4, CBT (Community Initiatives Funding), Kootenay Savings (Credit Union) and Overwaitea also contribute.”
Talent comes from far and wide, with past performers hailing from Ontario and even as far away as Australia. Hamling loves to source local talent, always open to see who in the area she can get to perform. Due to its longevity, the venue has become better known so Hamling often receives emails from musicians who want to come and participate. Genres include jazz, blues and rock and more.
“Without a doubt, our best turnout is always the week that 23 North plays,” says Hamling referring to the local rock band made up of Rod Zorn, Joe Williams, Dave Mang and Claudia Mang.
On the evening of August 27 we were treated to the rock stylings of Dirty Laundry, made up of 3 members: local high school teacher Dominic Raso and fellow members Al Arnett and Craig Besique.