Grizfest Coming Up!

Natassja Anto-Keshen


It was standing room only at the town council meeting on Tuesday, March 4. Local fans of Grizfest came out in droves to support the Tumbler Ridge Days Society as they made a request for, and were granted, $50,000. The funding is to go towards booking a headlining act for the festival.

Mayor Wren suggested that perhaps since only a 50 percent deposit was necessary to nail down an act, the Society would be able to make due with half of that sum. Added to the funds from the presale tickets, $25,000 would allow them to commit a leading performer.

Wren argued revenue generated from ticket sales would go up once the committee actually announced the main act. He proposed that they might be able to cover the other half of the musicians’ paycheque without the taxpayers’ help.

This was not a popular suggestion and after some lengthy debate, the whole requested sum was awarded to the society with only a cautious Councillor Snyder opposed. Snyder stated that he does believe that this is something to keep in the town, but that he is reluctant to spend taxpayer money on a specific group.

The assertion from the Society was that any leftover funding would go towards other community events throughout the year, and that this request was going to be a one-time thing, softened council considerably.

So who will be gracing Grizfest’s stage as the main attraction? Now that they’ve got the funding, it is time to figure that out. For those of you who have taken the survey on Grizfest’s Facebook page (some 181 people had by March 4) then you’ll know that some of the acts being considered include the Sheepdogs, Billy Idol, Corb Lund, Halestorm, Tom Cochrane, and Sam Roberts.

You can select your favourite among those choices or there is also a “None of the above” option. There is even a separate section to throw in your own suggestions. Budget restrictions will play a part in the final decision of course, but the TR Days society is really hoping that by reaching out with social media, they’ll be able to bring what the people want, to the people. Aside from allowing potential festival goers to have a more active role in choosing the concert-lineup, social media has also given Grizfest planners much more insight as to how quickly word can spread, and how many people they are reaching. They have already collected over 600 ‘likes’ on their Facebook page, which means that they can potentially reach approximately 3,000 people with updates.

While everybody is waiting to hear the big name this year, Grizfest is about more than just one big act, or even what happens on stage. One of the issues brought up at council involves getting the campsites ready for tourists.

Councillor Mackay said that Grizfest is a family event and stressed the importance of cleaning up the campsite. Not just for the festival, but for all of what Tumbler Ridge offers. “It’s good for business.” He said. There was also much talk about policing, organizing the grounds, and how the festival affects local businesses.

Councillor Mcpherson suggested more reaching out to local businesses for sponsorship but TR Days society said that they already have, and that while they are grateful to local businesses and organizations for chipping in what they can financially, it still isn’t really the boost they need.

They also say that local businesses get involved in other ways. Last year there were not one but two pancake breakfasts, sponsored by the TR Lions Club and Shop Easy respectively. Children’s games, beer gardens, vendors, and a horseshoe tournament were just a few of the things that Grizfest had on site, and this year, though a work in progress, looks like it will also have some great attractions.

Councillors Leggett and Litster both commended the committee on their diligence and hard work, they were impressed by the rapid progress made by the TR Days society in the past few weeks on organization and planning for the event. Mayor Wren also commended their efforts on the Grizfest Facebook page saying “Good work everyone. Now the hard work really begins for the volunteers. Let’s all do our part to make this year the best Grizfest to date.”

There is still a lot of work to be done, but the TR Days society are tackling every challenge with the kind of energy that makes it seem pretty sure this thing will come together.

While the words “One Last Chance” crept up a few times at the meeting, it never came from the TR Days society. They are approaching this festival as a sure thing. “We will do it,” said Grizfest Chair Joanne Kirby, without a trace of doubt.

Now it would seem it is simply a matter of putting their noses to the grindstone and getting all their ducks in a row. Platitudes aside, it’s going to be a lot of work, and it’s going to be difficult. But when August rolls around and we’re all sitting in the sun, enjoying live music with friends, family, and tourists alike, we’ll all be grateful for the effort and passion that makes Grizfest possible and puts Tumbler Ridge a little more securely on the map.