FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A local promoter hopes to create an annual summer festival in Fort St. John, with plans to bring in prominent artists while highlighting what the city has to offer.
Energetic Productions Inc. owner, Dale Plourde wants to make his vision a reality with the Energetic County Fair, hoping to showcase local musicians, First Nation and cultural art, diverse food, and bring the community together for a good time.
Plourde is a man of many hats as an event promoter, a producer, and a former touring artist, who grew up in the Peace. Once he made his way back to the region two years ago, he says he noticed an “incredible opportunity.”
“The city has now doubled and with a surrounding area and trading areas almost three times when I left. It was thriving when I left. So I’m thinking, geez, maybe I have to do this,” said Plourde in a presentation to council on Monday, seeking support and funding from the city.
The initial plan for the event is to have two stages featuring 20 performances to spotlight local performers and bring in some well-known faces such as Randy Bachmann, and Grammy award winner Ricky Skaggs.
“I called up Randy’s people, and [they said] you got $250,000 because that’s what they’re asking. I said, well, no, I don’t. So I talked to Randy, and he’d love to do it. I put in an offer that is much less than that for Randy and his son.”
The event will also have vendors from local artists and artisans, and a wide variety of food. He also wants to eventually incorporate other events in the festival, such as a car show and cook-offs.
The concert performances seem like a stretch for the first “mini” event, as Plourde is looking to have it span a day and a half. However, by next year, Plourde plans to grow the event to span three days, and make it a city-wide event lasting ten days in 2024.
The event also looks to utilize the Lido and other possible venues and businesses for night events.
During his presentation, Plourde also mentioned the benefits to the local businesses and economy with residents from around different cities travelling to the Fort St. John to take in the event. Plourde also provided council with a COVID-19 safety plan for the event.
Council made a resolution for staff to come back with an official report after speaking with Plourde about what is needed from the city.
Plourde is asking for a five-year commitment from the city to use Centennial Park between July 14th to 16th starting this year, and to become a presenting sponsor worth $55,000.
Plourde says it will cost $105,000 to place deposits down for artists and vendors to officially begin putting the wheels in motion for the event. He has already raised $50,000 and is looking for the city to cover the rest.
Plourde requested a short timeline for the report as he wants to officially announce the event in February to have enough time to organize the event for July.
“You’re asking our staff to get a staff report to us in about 10 days?” said Mayor Lori Ackerman.
“To be brutally honest, Dale, I don’t know. What we can ask staff to do is, with the information that you’ve given us, to get it to us as quickly as possible understanding the timeline that you have.”
Arts and Culture Manager, Eryn Griffith, will be working with Plourde to create a report for council for a future meeting.
View the full Energetic County Fair presentation below:
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