Armstrong MetalFest co-founder Jesse Valstar performs with Odinfist during the annual event at the Hassen Arena and IPE Grounds in 2019. (Jennifer Blake - File)

Armstrong MetalFest co-founder Jesse Valstar performs with Odinfist during the annual event at the Hassen Arena and IPE Grounds in 2019. (Jennifer Blake - File)

Province backs Armstrong MetalFest

Metal festival organizers announce support from BC Arts Council will keep them ‘on their feet’

COVID-19 may have silenced Armstrong MetalFest (AMF) this year, but thanks to a provincial grant, the festival will be kept on its feet until it can ‘turn it up to eleven’ in 2022.

AMF, a part of West Metal Entertainment, was awarded relief funds through the BC Arts Council and co-founder Jesse Valstar said the grant will cover all of the society’s fixed and basic operating costs for 2020-21.

“This funding is really positive,” Valstar said. “One of the most challenging parts during the COVID pandemic is for a (non-for-profit) society that depends on people gathering to make money — when you can’t gather people, you can’t raise funds.”

Earlier this month, AMF announced it had to pull the plug for the second year in a row due to provincial health orders restricting events and Valstar said the volunteer-based society had come to accept the costs of the pandemic.

“We had just said, ‘this is a casualty but we can deal with it.’”

But with this award, the team behind Western Canada’s largest metal festival won’t have to start two steps back.

The funding will cover website operations, society maintenance and the annual Armstrong Metal Fest Music Bursary, awarded to a graduating Pleasant Valley Secondary student.

“When we don’t have an event, we can’t really pay for that kind of stuff,” Valstar said. “The B.C. government rolled in and actually helped us out quite a bit.”

Looking to 2022, the festival is set to come back bigger and better than ever — pending health orders.

“We’re looking at ways to expand the festival from what it is right now but trying to sort things out… we can’t do anything without knowing what we’re allowed to do,” Valstar said.

Now, it’s a game of wait and see.

“Armstrong MetalFest and every other event and gathering has its struggles so we’re not unique in that aspect,” he said. “You’ve just got to move forward with whatever you’ve got.”

The BC Arts Council was created in 1995 to support the arts and cultural activity in communities across the province.

READ MORE: Vernon police investigating after theft at skatepark

READ MORE: Plug pulled on Armstrong MetalFest once more


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Increased COVID-19 activity brings vaccine clinic to Enderby

Registration opens Tuesday, April 20 for May clinic for anyone over the age of 18

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Seth Blackburn is recovering in Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops from a serious dirt bike accident on April 11, 2021 in which he was impaled by a small tree top. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm teen recovering from horrific dirt bike crash

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help family while one parent unable to work

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
‘Do not occupy’ order lifted, residents of West Kelowna apartment allowed to return home

The building was evacuated early Sunday morning due to a strange smell

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Vernon Search and Rescue’s helicopter team was asked to be on standby to rescue a missing hiker in Naramata. (Air Rescue One/VSAR photo)
Lost hiker rescued in Okanagan Mountain Park

COSAR, PENSAR, and VSAR worked together to rescue a hiker in Okanagan Mountain Park

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

courts
Penticton man guilty of assaulting young boys

Bryan Lamb was found guilty of two counts of assault

Abandoned Rail Brewing Company, located at 1220 Davenport Ave. on the KVR trail, has applied to the City of Penticton for a manufacturing facility and lounge endorsement. The city will review the application in their April 20, 2021 council meeting. (City of Penticton photo)
A new brewery could be coming to the KVR trail in the South Okanagan

The patio would seat up to 113 just 10 feet from the trail

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Most Read