In a year unlike any other, the District of Lake Country did not give up on providing residents with summer entertainment.
In place of the beloved Live! in Lake Country concert series, the district and cultural development coordinator Ryan Donn put their heads together to come up with alternative plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The result: 44 intimate, physically-distanced sidewalk concerts played throughout the community every Wednesday or Thursday evening through until August.
Popular performers, including Ben Klick, Poppa Dawg, Opera Kelowna, Cod Gone Wild, Sista B among others, have expressed interest in performing the neighbourhoods.
The Sidewalk Concert series was first announced in early May with an online application process for event hosts.
“It is a free show, just smaller and closer to home,” Donn said in a May 7 statement.
More than 60 applications were received from potential hosts and the district had to narrow down the final selection based on location — ensuring a diverse cross-section of Lake Country was covered — and public safety and road-closure logistics were accounted for.
Each successful applicant works closely with district staff to confirm only up to 40 spectators, plus performers and program staff are on-site for each concert.
This is to ensure provincial health guidelines ordered by British Columbia’s top doctor Bonnie Henry’s 50-people capacity is adhered to.
“We’re encouraging audience members to enjoy the 20-30 minute performance from the safety and comfort of home; and to sit or stand on their own lawns, decks, walkways or driveways and not in the street or a crowded grouping,” the District of Lake Country said.
With two performances under the district’s belt already, staff have been impressed at residents’ participation and acceptance of the safety measures in place.
“I’m really happy with the positive response to the Sidewalk Concerts,” Donn said. “Starting with the large number of applications we received and now both from the performers and the audiences.”
“On Thursday evening (June 25), a few were dancing in the cul-de-sac and even the kids stopped on their bikes and listened to Sista B perform,” Donn said. “It is a unique experience for everyone involved.”
The hardest part of the Sidewalk Concert series, Donn said, is keeping the location of each show secret “so it is a safe pop-up concert for a limited-size audience.”
Not only is this a way to keep an annual summer tradition alive in Lake Country, but Ryan Donn said it’s an excellent way to show support for local artists in a time where performances are nearly impossible to book due to venue closures and required physical distancing.
“They (the artists) are very appreciative of the first paid work that most of them have had in months,” Donn said.