Salmon Arm Roots & Blues organizers have announced plans for a free virtual festival, to be hosted on all Black Press Media websites Aug. 14 to 16. (File photo)

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues to host free virtual festival with Black Press Media

New and archival footage to comprise two-hour shows running Aug. 14 to 16

The show will go on – online.

Organizers behind the annual Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival announced plans for a free virtual event that will be hosted across Black Press Media website platforms Aug. 14 to 16.

“While nothing is going to replace one’s physical presence at a festival, and the interaction that drives such an event, organizers at Roots and Blues felt an online presence would shine a light on some of the artistic highlights of years past,” commented Roots and Blues artistic director, Peter North in a Tuesday, June 16 release.

“The unique identity that Roots and Blues has created and is known for will continue in the programming, acting as a reminder to longtime Roots and Blues patrons that they’ve experienced many memorable musical moments in a terrific, safe and family friendly environment.”

It was announced late April that the physical festival, planned for Aug. 13-16 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, was being cancelled in respect of restrictions around COVID-19. At that time, organizers said they were looking at using technology to come with a different format for this year’s event, so the “joy, talent and authenticity” of the festival could be shared with a broader audience.

“The provincial directive to cancel all large events in British Columbia this summer has generated an opportunity for innovative ideas, rethinking the traditional festival experience,” said Roots and Blues executive director David Gonella in the June 16 release. “We are excited to be stepping up, putting together a program we can be proud of, introducing a broader audience to the authentic and quality product that Roots and Blues has been proud to produce for nearly 30 years.”

Read more: Salmon Arm Roots & Blues cancels 2020 festival, pursuing alternatives

Read more: Five acts announced for 2020 Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival

Read more: Expanded camping at 2021 Roots & Blues might work if COVID-19 restrictions still required

The planned online festival experience will include new material shot specifically for the virtual broadcast, alongside archival footage from previous years. The online festival experience will include two hours of programming each night, and will be free to enjoy on all of Black Press Media’s 140 websites, including the Salmon Arm Observer.

A preliminary list of artists pulling together new material for this special edition of Roots and Blues includes: Bill Henderson – guitar player and vocalist of legendary Canadian band, Chilliwack; Tom and Kalissa Landa of The Paperboys; Locarno and the B.C. World Music Collective; Steve Marriner of Monkeyjunk; Irish Mythen; Nashville singer-songwriter Sam Lewis; American harmonica ace Mark Hummel; and Bill Bourne of Tri-Continental.

Organizers are expecting many more acts to be announced in the coming months, including those booked for this year’s festival, as well as headliners from years past.

For more information on how you can be a part of this inaugural online festival experience, look for updates at www.rootsandblues.com.

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