It has always been the granddaddy of Kimberley festivals. It was the first, and for many, the face of Kimberley, an institution. It’s the Kimberley International Accordion Championships, and the new year begins with the news that there will not be a KIOTAC in July of 2013, nor will there be one again.
“It is with a heavy heart, that we the Executive Committee, make this announcement today,” wrote Jeany Irvin, Chair of the KIOTAC Committee in a letter to patrons, accordionists, volunteers and Kimberley Mayor and Council. “The Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships will not continue its long history as an event. After a number of years of increasing costs and falling revenues, it has become apparent that the event is no longer economically sustainable. After 39 years it is quite apparent that attempting to host an exemplary and meaningful event would be a detraction from the many years of success that the event has entertained.”
“It’s a loss,” said Mayor Ron McRae. “It’s been 39 years of a major event, a huge accomplishment for all the volunteers who supported it.
“It could be a reflection of a changing economy, not just with Kimberley, but in general terms, and changing demographics.
“Those who have attended and supported KIOTAC in the past are aging.
“It’s really unfortunate and there will be an economic effect. We’ll feel it. Most of the organizers had such a long history with the event and I’m sure it was a difficult decision, one not made lightly.”
“It was awful,” Irvin said. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we’d rather go out on top than fall on our face. It’s been a good run.”
Irvin says that the Committee wishes to thank all of the loyal patrons, the hundreds of dedicated volunteers and members past and present, as well as sponsors; all of whom have historically made KIOTAC into the rich and meaningful event that hundreds of families and artists have grown to embrace over the past 39 years.
“The Executive Committee apologizes deeply for any inconvenience that this cancellation notice may bring,” she said.
Along with Irvin, Committee members are Bill Baerg, Donna Purves, Heather Smith, Gail MacLean, Adele Norman, Ed Tickles and Wendy Moore.