Good luck and good tunes with Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan visited the East Kootenay on August 14 to perform for a sold out, enthusiastic crowd – here's how it happened behind the scenes.

Bob Dylan and his crew have come and gone, and they’ve viewed the Kootenay  landscape glowin’, gleamin’ in the golden light of day.

Kootenay Concert Connections promoter FJ Hurtak who helped bring Dylan and company to Cranbrook, said the it was a lot of work, but well worth the effort.

“It was the concert of the century, if you were a Bob Dylan fan,” he said. “Even at 71, I gotta say this, he still knows how to rock.”

He acknowledged that some concert-goers had difficulty understanding the lyrics, but Hurtak said it’s always been Dylan’s style.

“I couldn’t understand what he was singing in the ‘70s,” he admits.

Hurtak said the highlight of the evening for him was walking into the arena at 7:33 p.m., minutes before Dylan walked onstage, and feeling the energy.

“You could feel the electricity in the building before the show started,” he said.

But then, Dylan walked onstage.

“At that point the crowd went absolutely crazy,” he said. “That for me was the highlight of the evening.”

The entourage of buses arrived overnight Sunday before the show, but the staff at Western Financial Place had already been hard at work. Local workers installed the centre’s portable stage that was purchased a few years ago. Hurtak said the local staff was fast and professional, considering the Rob and Scott Niedermayer Hockey Camp was in the building just hours before they had access to it.

“They can set that thing up and take that thing down in their sleep,” Hurtak said.

Then Dylan’s crew stepped in around 8 a.m. Sunday to set up their own sound equipment and instruments, while the man himself stayed back at the St. Eugene Mission Golf Resort and Casino. Hurtak said that was a closely guarded secret. The buses rolled in to the resort rather than the arena parking lot, where it was expected they would be.

When it was time to head out to the show, Hurtak said the Dylan crew was shocked by the breathtaking scenery.

“You look East and there’s the sun coming over the Steeples,” he said. “A lot of them were taken back by the beauty of the East Kootenay.”

Hurtak said he got a brief hello in to Dylan himself as he was preparing for the show, but noted that after dazzling the crowd in Cranbrook, he simply picked up his bag and left the building discreetly.

“He’s like Elvis – when the show’s over, he leaves the building right away,” Hurtak said.

Some fans reported getting a wave from Dylan as he left Western Financial Place for his bus.

The Dylan concert wouldn’t have gone ahead if it hadn’t been for a bit of good luck. Western Financial Place was booked solid – save for the night of August 12. There were hockey camps on either side of the event.

“Good luck played into this scenario,” Hurtak said.

Early on in negotiations, it looked like the show might not go ahead, but as Hurtak toured with Steve Earl in the West Kootenay, he got a call that things were back on.

“Twice we thought this thing was dead in the water,” he said.

Once the show was confirmed and the Dylan camp happy, Hurtak said it was time to sell tickets. There were 3,600 seats sold, and on August 12, it was a full-capacity crowd.

Looking back, Hurtak said there was one small thing they would change to help out security and ensure everyone had a chance to see and enjoy the concert.

“If we had to do it all over again, we wouldn’t put 1,000 seats on the floor,” he said.

Hurtak said the Dylan performance could help put Cranbrook on the map as a destination for concerts, a status that has already been proven before with Johnny Reid, ZZ Top and more great bands that have come through.

“I don’t know if you can get much bigger than Bob Dylan,” Hurtak said. “For Cranbrook, Bob Dylan is a feather in the cap.”

 

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

Just Posted

Angel Flight takes to the skies once more

Angel Flight East Kootenay is once again offering free flights to Kelowna for medical appointments

Hometown heroes: Ktunaxa Nurse Manager Heather Fenner

With various sectors of the economy continuing to open their doors to… Continue reading

City releases draft annual report on salaries, expenses

The City of Cranbrook has released a draft annual financial document that… Continue reading

The third photograph of Robert Johnson

An old photograph comes to light — a reminder that mythology is real and the past is still alive

East Kootenay snow packs still moderately high

EK snow packs at 114 per cent of normal

Taking the Auspices: What’s in a Murmuration?

This is the most wonderful time of year, if you ask me.… Continue reading

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Most Read