Canadian singer-songwriter icon Murray McLauchlan jokes with the crowd of 500 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Monday that he’s about to rock out during his appearance in June. The Performing Arts Centre has been selected as the site for the kickoff of the four-day Okanagan Cultural Connections Tour of live performance venues from Vernon to Oliver. (Morning Star - file photo)

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society will host the kick-off of a four-day Okanagan Cultural Connections Tour of live performance venues from Vernon to Oliver by 25 Western Canadian promoters, national booking agents, and Creative BC, Music BC and BC Touring Council representatives.

The tour, which begins Wednesday, is designed “to build the live music community and network with regional promoters and agents to support development of the Okanagan music market”, according to Mark Greenhalgh, Arts and Culture Centre Project Manager for the District of Summerland, coordinator of the tour.

Stops will also include Creekside Theatre (Lake Country), Rotary Arts Centre (Kelowna), Summerland Centre Stage Theatre, The Cleland Theatre (Penticton), Enowkin Centre (Syilx People’s Arts Centre, Penticton), and Frank Venables Theatre (Oliver) from Aug. 21-24.

“Vernon’s Performing Arts Centre was invited to participate and lead-off the tour as having the capacity to engage in presenting more local and touring live music, (both established and emerging artists), particularly for a demographic under 50 years of age,” said Jim Harding, executive director of the VPAC.

“And because of the facility’s reputation for excellent acoustics, technical production resources and past successes hosting memorable big name concerts including Burton Cummings, Barenaked Ladies, Jim Cuddy, Jann Arden, Colin James, Andrew Allen, the late Gord Downie and more.”

The promoters, booking agents and guests will tour the Performing Arts Centre’s patron and performer amenities and conclude with a demonstration of the theatre’s technical production resources, including the versatile and vibrant LED lighting system installed in January 2018; the variable digital sound capabilities; and the brand new digital projection system, added since the free public launch of the coming 2019-20 SPOTLIGHT Season on June 24.

A networking luncheon will follow in the Okanagan Spirits foyer where guests will get the chance to learn more about bookings, hospitality, technical assistance, marketing and Ticket Seller box office services provided by the Performing Arts Centre.

The Okanagan Cultural Connections Tour – connecting live music theatre venues with national booking agents and promoters – is aimed at increasing awareness of the valley’s venues; exploring ways to better market to a 20-50 target demographic; showcasing sample live music featuring emerging BC and Okanagan artists; helping generate sponsorship relationships with local wineries, hotels, restaurants and local businesses to build community support for future Okanagan music and cultural tourism events; and to create opportunities for local promoters and regional presenters to network with national booking agents and live music promoters from outside the Okanagan.

The project is envisioned to be a springboard for future collaboration, promote growth of a great, regional live music scene and as a vibrant and viable touring circuit, equal to those that already exist on Vancouver Island and the Kootenay regions of BC.

The project is funded by Creative Okanagan. Tour partners and sponsors include Creative BC, the Province of BC, The Rotary Centre for the Arts, the City of Penticton, Tourism Kelowna, the City of Kelowna, Summerland Arts Council, Predator Ridge, Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, District of Lake Country/Creekside Theatre, Frank Venables Theatre, the City of West Kelowna, Blister Management, Misty Mountain Productions, Thick as Thieves Entertainment/Denim on the Diamond, GonzoOkanagan and Summerhill Winery.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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