B.C. Day weekend festival will return to St. Ann’s

After a lengthy stalemate between the Capital Festival producer and its founding sponsor, the free music event will once again fill St. Ann’s Academy on B.C. Day.

“We found a way to work together,” said Ray Parks, CEO of the Provincial Capital Commission. “We’re happy, it’s all coming together … (though) it was a difficult one, I have to admit.”

The PCC manages the academy and grounds, where the Capital Festival B.C. Day took place in 2009 and 2010.

This year’s festival was cancelled in April, due to disagreements between Parks and festival producer John Selkirk.

In its place, Parks announced a family picnic. He offered Selkirk to host the festival on the Saturday preceding B.C. Day, but Selkirk refused.

This week, Parks agreed to sponsor both events on the Monday.  “I went to my staff and said … can we share this thing?”

Selkirk said he’s happy with the resolution.

This year’s festival will be broader in theme than in previous years.

It will still feature emerging B.C. artists on the main stage, such as Belmont grad and emerging star Karly Summers. This year’s event, however, will be opened up to different art forms and include more chances for participation.

For instance, dance groups will also perform on the stage and offer workshops. Another idea, still unconfirmed, is a type of battle of the bands. Musicians of any age and musical style can register in the advance, and perform throughout the day on a side stage, Selkirk said. An adjudicator will select the winner to perform on the main stage that evening.

“Sometimes there are artists out there that don’t necessarily have the right promo, the right demo … but this is their chance,” he said.

After four months of uncertainty, Selkirk is now playing catch up.

“We hope to see all the bigger community partners that were there last year come back,” he said.

“My hope is that we have such a successful event again that we can look to develop this into a longer term relationship.”

rholmen@vicnews.com