The Salmon Arm 30th Annual ROOTSandBLUES Festival is planning to add a free public concert downtown on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 18. No word yet on who will be performing. (File photo)

The Salmon Arm 30th Annual ROOTSandBLUES Festival is planning to add a free public concert downtown on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 18. No word yet on who will be performing. (File photo)

Free concert in Salmon Arm’s downtown planned for ROOTSandBLUES kick-off

City council approves request to close Alexander Street from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18

To kick off the return of the ROOTSandBLUES Festival, a free concert downtown is in the works.

David Gonella, executive director of the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society, wrote to city council to request Alexander Street be closed to traffic from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Along with permission to close the street, the society asked the city to provide two concrete blocks or water-filled road barriers on Alexander and Hudson to stop vehicles from entering Alexander.

At council’s May 24 meeting, Coun. Debbie Cannon made a motion that council support the street closure.

“I’m just excited that Roots and Blues is happening so I want to support them,” she said.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said Alexander, between Lakeshore and Hudson, can close.

The only complication is Lakeshore Road will be open in July and August, and the city must not block it because of Shuswap Transit. The initial idea from the society was to have a stage trailer at the base of the treble clef sculpture, but that can’t happen.

He said staff are not sure if the city will have concrete blocks available, but will work with the festival to locate barricades.

The society will rent the Salmar Classic to provide beverage service and bathroom access.

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Mayor Alan Harrison said the street closures the city has had for other events, like the Salty Dog Street Fest, are very much enjoyed by families. He thanked all the volunteers who are offering such services and thanked staff for working with ROOTSandBLUES.

“I’m sure this will be a hit as well.”

Council members present voted unanimously in support.

A letter to council from Downtown Salmon Arm (DSA) also expressed support for the free concert, noting the success of DSA members is its priority and the scheduling will allow businesses on Alexander to operate with minimal disruption.

“With the Festival’s access to security and event personnel, portable washrooms, and extensive community connections, we trust this event will be planned with all safety, security, and accessibility measures in place…

“Our collaboration with the ROOTSandBLUES is intended to bring the Festival to Salmon Arm residents free of charge, and to bring Salmon Arm residents and festival goers to downtown Salmon Arm. This invitation extends to youth, families, singles and seniors alike to come celebrate this keystone Salmon Arm event.”

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martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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