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Central Okanagan music strategy aims to improve local music scene

Creative Okanagan surveyed 460 stakeholders to develop the strategy
The crowd at Kelowna’s third Denim On The Diamond music festival on Oct. 2. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

The Central Okanagan offers plenty of perks for musicians in terms of lifestyle, but little in the way of work, according to a new report from Creative Okanagan.

The organization interviewed 460 people including musicians, venues, non-profits, educators, promoters, recording studios and other community stakeholders. The feedback went into a new Central Okanagan Music Strategy that set 16 short, medium and long-term goals to improve the local music industry.

Their work found a lack of performance venues and lack of awareness around live music events is having a negative impact on local musicians. Musicians derived some 59 per cent of their income from live performances in 2019 and have been hit hard by COVID-19 health protocols.

“Thirty-nine per cent of organizations reported that their revenue in 2019 was less than $50,000, and 36 per cent expected revenue to decrease by 50 per cent or more in 2020, as a result of COVID-19,” the music strategy final report states.

Plans are being laid to increase artist revenue in a post-COVID world. The strategy calls for a framework to establish fair compensation for artists and to help establish a group of suitable venues for live music. Although the Central Okanagan has a number of great outdoor venues, there is a lack of large and medium-sized indoor performance spaces.

Creative Okanagan plans to develop a Music Action Committee to deliver on goals outlined in the music strategy. The committee would function as an advocacy body that would help promote live music events, coordinate networking opportunities for music stakeholders, identify grant funding opportunities, and develop relationships with local tourism organizations to promote local music.

“There is an opportunity to make the Central Okanagan a vibrant music hub, given the local community’s desire for a greater variety in music and all the factors that make the Central Okanagan attractive to newcomers,” the report states.

“A blossoming music scene in the Central Okanagan and a distinct identity separate from that of larger cities such as Vancouver and Calgary make the region an attractive place for musicians and audiences alike.”

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Denim On The Diamond music festival draws crowd of over 3,600

READ MORE: Live music back at Kelowna’s Waterfront Park


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