A piano painted for Festivals Kelowna by local artist Jolene Mackie. (Contributed)

Festivals Kelowna playing it by ear with pop-up pianos

The Pianos in Parks program is tentatively set to roll out in early-July, one month later than usual

While the pandemic has postponed the placing of pop-up pianos that usually appear in city parks around this time of year, the show will go on — just a little later in the summer.

Festivals Kelowna’s popular Pianos in Parks program is tentatively set to begin in early-July, pending approval from city officials. Usually the program begins in early-June.

“We are preparing with the hope that we can implement our programs — even in a modified way —this summer,” said Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna.

As far as precautions go, Mills said hand sanitizer or washing stations at the pianos is unlikely.

“The reality of it is … we won’t be putting anything on the pianos that could be taken,” she said. “Having done the program for six years now, it’s funny how things suddenly walk off.

“If we left hand sanitizer I’d take the bet it wouldn’t be there the next day.”

Festivals Kelowna plans to increase cleaning rates of the pianos to ensure the experience is safe and enjoyable, but ultimately the decision lies in the hands of the pianist.

“At the end of the day, people have the choice to play or not play,” Mills said. “If they have concerns about touching a shared surface then they certainly have the ability to decide not to play.”

Mills said if the program is allowed this year, they will be encouraging people to play the pianos with gloves.

“You’ll probably be able to play just fine,” she said.

READ MORE: Pedestrians only: Kelowna mayor wants to expand open spaces for restaurants

READ MORE: We’re lovin’ it: Kelowna settles lengthy legal battle with McDonalds for over $2M

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