The Fisher Peak Performing Artists Society (FPPAS) have put out the call for performers for their Summer Sounds series, which will once again grace rotary Park every Saturday through July and August, culminating with the Peak Music Festival September 4 and 5.
The origins of the society date back to about a decade ago, forming officially in 2013 and they’ve been doing concerts in Rotary Park ever since. The festival was created two years and 2020 will be its third.
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“It’s just a bigger splash at the end of the year,” said FPPAS President James Neve of the Peak festival.
The Summer Sounds Series and the Peak Music Festival are all free to attend. FPPAS brings in local and regional performers, and endeavours to pair them together in ways that benefits the artists — and the ears of their audiences.
The Society raises money though private donors and sponsors and through grants from organizations like Heritage Canada, Creative BC and the Columbia Basin Trust; the money raised allows them to pay their performers.
“So often you hear about performers who are struggling to even get the recognition of a few dollars as part of their performances, so that’s the main reason that we raise money — so we can give performers a reasonable honorarium for coming and doing their thing,” Neve explained.
“Because for every hour of performance, most of them have put in hundreds of hours of practice and spent lots of money on equipment and so forth. For most of them it’s a passion, it’s a love of music — a labour of love.”
The festival and the Society’s board are run almost exclusively on volunteer power, composed of people representing a “cross section of the performance spectrum,” as Neve described it.
The board encourages musicians from any age group or genre to take part in the concert series.
“It’s really to try and give a new performer an opportunity to do their thing in public and to enjoy the great outdoors while doing it,” Neve said. “We’re looking forward to attracting some new performers and others who’ve perhaps have performed in the park previously, and we’re looking forward to the season.”
The FPPAS has developed a website and they ask potential performers to register at www.fisherpeakperformingartists.com/performer-registration.
“They don’t have to,” Neve said, “but we asked people to register on the web so it makes it easier for us to understand what the performer does, how many sets they do, what kind of music they do, what genre they’re in, how many performers there are, whether they’re nearby or further afield, whether they would require accommodations if they came and performed, those kinds of things.”
This is to achieve two main goals. The first is to make it easier for FPPAS to find and book artists as needed — seeing if specific artists are available for specific times. The second thing is that once an artist establishes a presence on the website, other people, such as a pub, venue, or hotel owners, can see them, along with their electronic press kits, and book them from there.
Once an artist registers, one of the Society’s communications and marketing people will contact them to ask for pictures, links to social media or music in order for them to be able to start promoting the artists.
“One of the things we don’t want people to think, we’re not an agent, we’re not like an agency,” Neve explained. “We don’t charge anybody for that service, it’s free to register, it’s just to help people get their name out there, get their face out there, get their music out there.”
Neve will be starting to call performers over the next four or five days to see what their availability is, and then the process of putting together the nights themselves begins.
“This year we’re going to treat each Saturday a little bit like a festival …probably what we will do have some additional backlines — a drum kit and a bass amp — so that we can move things fairly quickly between the opening act and the in-betweener and the closing act.”
They will also carefully choose which artists to put where on their schedules, considering the artists who will draw a crowd and also which artists will pair up well with the other acts on the bill.
This year, they’re mixing it up and will have three performances each Saturday. The formula will usually look like an opening band, followed by a more acoustic in-between act, and then the headliner.
“[We’re] trying to broaden their night out a bit, create more opportunity for performers, because that would add an additional 11 performances available for people,” Neve said.
As well as providing Cranbrook residents a regular chance to enjoy music and socialize, and fostering the growth of the local and regional music scene at large, these nights also provide an economic benefit to the city of Cranbrook.
“When we started attracting 500 or 1,000 people to the park on a Saturday night — well, they spread out in the town, they eat at restaurants, and they go to a pub for a beer, or whatever,” Neve said. “So I think in some ways not only is it really good for social interaction but it’s also been a bit of an economic spin off in some ways for local businesses.”
The first Summer Sounds night takes place Saturday, July 4.