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Olympic legacy grant proves useful in Kelowna

Alternate  arts festival organizer Gabe Cipes holds up the poster for the upcoming Ecotone Festival being held on Saturday, Feb. 5, starting at 4 p.m.   - Sean Connor/Capital News
Alternate arts festival organizer Gabe Cipes holds up the poster for the upcoming Ecotone Festival being held on Saturday, Feb. 5, starting at 4 p.m.
— image credit: Sean Connor/Capital News

Though the crowd will be filled with those who more likely opposed Vancouver hosting the Winter Olympics last year, legacy funds from that event will pay for one of Kelowna’s most popular alternative arts festivals this year.

The Ecotone Festival—Conduit Festival—which was originally known as Cakewalk, will have some serious backing when organizers throw open the doors of the Rotary Centre for the Arts next month.

Money given to the city from the provincial Spirit Festival fund, then redistributed to this event’s organizers, will pay for bigger headliners, like Yukon Blonde, and a decidedly eco-centric affair.

“We’re in the midst of a cultural shift; we need to change things like how we live,” said organizer Gabe Cipes, noting he believes cutting-edge creativity is primarily focused on the planet’s future.

Ecotone was renamed from the new name it got last year—Conduit—as the moniker is also associated with the Google search engine.

Originally Cipes had explained the festival would act as a conduit for the grassroots movement for social and environmental change.

The festival, planned for Feb. 5, focuses on things like small plot intensive farming, an urban farming method generally referred to as SPIN-farming; permaculture; and the Sylix Okanagan world perspective.

All too often, Cipes says, festivals are now more business junkets bent on selling a product or perspective.

“This (Ecotone) is actually the people who are doing stuff,” he said.

“They’re the ones saving seed and starting gardens and shaping the system, shaping our society by empowering themselves to be a part of nature.”

Whether one views the Olympic funds as ironic or not, the Ecotone festival really suited the mandate of the legacy funds.

“The application for the spirit festival funding was pretty well looking for our festival,” said Cipes. “We helped to bring in a lot of money for the arts.”

The artist in the event include everything from graffiti artists like Wyatt Parker, Bryar Gates and Colin Kavanagh to A Woodside Design Gallery owner Allisa Woodside.

Exhibitors include places like Sunshine Farms, Okanagan-Naturopathic Healthcare and Left over Hippies.

The event needs to attract 1,000 people to be sustainable. Cipes says he believes they hit that target last year—although only 60 per cent paid.

A minimum $10 donation is needed at the door per person.

The festival runs Saturday, Feb. 5 from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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