Q & A with Hugo Rampen, Executive Director of the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society's Roots & Blues Festival in British Columbia.
The Salmon Arm Folk Music Society is a non-profit charitable organization that presents the Annual Roots and Blues Festival the third weekend of every August. Additionally the SAFMS presents a series of pre-festival concerts in the Shuswap region under your outreach program, Routes and Blues.
1. What is the first thing you like to tell people who haven’t been to your festival when they ask what it’s like?
We host a festival with great multi genre music and an extremely chill vibe. I just got off the phone with a band that performed for us this year. Their impression was that we have one of the most unique vibes in the festival market place.
2. How does your festival differ from other similar festivals?
Atmosphere really. Tone is set by great volunteers. We try not to enforce rules. Outr goals are to manage our audience in a safe manner so that they can have a great experience.
3. What are one or two (world music) artists you had in the past couple of years whose live stage performance blew you away?
Njava, Corvus Corax, Berlinski Beat, Vieux Farka Toure and I could keep listing...
4. If you think of yourself as a curator, how would you describe your personal curatorial vision for the artists that play at your festival? Are there certain things that every artist has to have? Are the certain things that at least one artist at your festival has to have?
Hard to explain. I rely on the hair on the back of my neck. It is great to see a recent CD release with good promo and distro, good social media skills, active agency and outstanding resources like video bio and photos in place.
5. What is one thing you wish an artist or booking agent would say to you?
Timely logistic info to simplify everything for my staff. I would also like them to tell me that they have read their workshop descriptions and if they have questions, they would ask me to clarify.
6. How has your festival adapted to new technologies in recent years?
We have an aggressive social media program, we have large video screens, we work with the local high school media department to record and distribute fest footage via youtube. We have an app. Maybe we’ll be lasers and microwaves next.
7. What is one of the most touching things that has happened at your festival recently?
The respect and affection between performers that I see in almost every workshop we program.
8. What one or two other presenters in our field do you keep an eye on? Why them?
Nobody really. I just do my own thing. I can’t be bothered trying to be someone else.
9. What is one thing you have never done at your festival, but hope you can one day?
I would like more spectacle and therefore pyro. Unfortunately due to forest fire issues, we will never achieve this. Another thing that is achievable is integration of a agriculture/food and local chef aspect. We will do it sooner than later.
For more information on the festival, visit their Facebook Page.
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