With 2021 being a write-off for performing artists, the Kitimat Concert Association (KCA) is staying hopeful for the 2022 concert season.
As Kitimat’s concert season usually starts up in September and finishes in April, Northern Presenters – a collective of concert association presidents in the northern region, are following health orders and decided to push back the season, starting January 2022.
“[In 2020] we got shut down on the night of our concert in March, and the two [scheduled] concerts after that were also postponed,” Michael Jeffery, Kitimat Concert Association president said. “Last fall, we tried to arrange concerts with 50 people in the audience but three days before the concert they brought in a travel ban so the [scheduled] artists couldn’t get out of Vancouver.”
Though the last three performances were cancelled in the year 2020, the majority of season ticket holders donated the value of their unused season tickets back to the KCA, who used the money to pay out the artists that didn’t make it into town.
The association also used funds allocated by the BC Community Presenters Assistance to pay off artists that were also planned to come this fall.
With support from the Department of Canadian Heritage, all acts that were supposed to be coming to Kitimat this year are now scheduled for the next year as all deposits and payments have already gone through for artists planning to come in 2022.
“Since we didn’t have any concerts last year but were still funded by the Canadian Heritage, they told us we could use the money they gave us this year towards concerts for the 2021-2022 season,” said Jeffery.
“We’ll also be talking to sponsors, between now and the fall, to see what position they’re in and if they’re willing to contribute to the cause again.”
Many health and safety protocols will be in place as the concerts, hosted at the Mount Elizabeth Theatre with seating available up to 500 people, will only be running at half capacity with a maximum audience of 250 members per show.
“Even with just 50 people in the audience, we could still manage. But if we could get 250 people at each show, we could break even,” Jeffery said.
In order to make tours worthwhile for both the artists and organizations, artists must be booked for a minimum of three concerts. This allows artists the ability to apply for travel grants and government funding; it also cuts costs for associations trying to lure in performing artists.
The Northern Presenters collective comes together once a year at the Pacific Contacts performing arts conference in Burnaby. At these conferences, artists perform a 15 minute set for associations, like the KCA, for a chance to tour the northern communities.
The artists that are scheduled for the 2022 season are:
January – Meagan and Amy, a classical music duo;
February – Lost Fingers, a Canadian gypsy jazz music group from Quebec; The California Guitar Trio, a progressive rock/new acoustic trio;
March – no artists scheduled;
April – Ken Lavigne’s 3 Knights with a Tenor, a blend of classical tenor sound and contemporary style.