Accommodation has been going fast this year for the Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival.
Celebrating its 30th birthday, the annual festival will be held from Thursday, Aug. 18 through Sunday, Aug. 21.
Since 2005, the festival has requested and received temporary use permits (TUPs) from the city to allow camping on farmers’ fields across 10th Avenue SW from the festivities.
As well, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has permitted non-farm use for the times required.
Executive director David Gonella attended the city’s development and planning meeting April 28 via video to say the festival was almost 93 per cent sold out of camping spots. While 600 sites were allowed previously in the permit, the festival was requesting the addition of 100 to 150 slots.
Gonella said reports have been received from patrons who can’t find inexpensive spots to stay.
With the city’s approval, he said 725 slots would be available for 2022.
In 2019, with 600 slots available, 550 were sold and 50 were provided to volunteers and in-kind supporters.
To mitigate concerns with property owners residing next to the fence line bordering the western-most campgrounds, camping slots near those properties would be placed 40 feet or 12 metres back to provide a buffer.
Council expressed approval of the camping increase, noting the festival has been as responsive as it could be to any complaints over the years.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he was in favour of giving the event as much flexibility as possible. He said the festival has been a good steward of the lands, the ALC has signed off on it and “it’s our signature event.”
Because the TUP is a three-year agreement, Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said although she’s in favour of increasing the number of sites, could council review it for the second year. Her suggestion was not supported.
The festival’s request was given unanimous approval at the city’s planning meeting and was expected to receive council approval following a hearing at the May 9 council meeting.
Two sites where accommodation listings in the Shuswap can be found are on the Shuswap Tourism website or the ROOTSandBLUES site.
A cursory survey in late April of hotel, motel and camping accommodation in Salmon Arm, in response to a festivalgoer who took to social media as they couldn’t find a place, showed several properties full with both performers and patrons, while others still had either a few or several units remaining.
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