It’s back to the Shuswap for a summertime music and motorcycle festival.
The new president of Sturgis North, Joan Hansen, announced via a news release Wednesday that the 2013 Sturgis North Annual All Make Motorcycle Jamboree and Music Festival has teamed up with the Neskonlith Indian Band to host the 2013 event in the Shuswap in August, as opposed to July.
The 2011 festival was held in Salmon Arm and the 2012 event moved to the MotoPlex Speedway and Event Park in Spallumcheen.
Sturgis North 2013 will be held on Neskonlith land close to Chase.
“Our feedback from our patrons was they really wanted to have water,” said Hansen in a phone interview with the Salmon Arm Observer. “We lost a lot of people to the different lakes. We want to have more of a waterfront location. We want people to have fun and not have to leave.”
Hansen did alert the MotoPlex of their plans to move.
“They contacted me about the press release and let me know,” said Bob Newcombe, MotoPlex manager. “We’re more of a family entertainment thing out here at the racetrack. It’s not a big deal to us.”
The 2012 event at the speedway included a motorcycle expo along with classic rock acts such as The Stampeders, Nick Gilder and The Guess Who.
Newcombe said the Sturgis North five-day festival in mid-July was a success at his facility, despite some issues.
“The weather worked against them for a couple of the days,” he said. “And the heavy RCMP presence deterred a lot of people from coming out. People were getting stopped at road blocks from every which angle coming out here.”
Newcombe said the MotoPlex and Sturgis North were on good terms when the festival ended.
“It was a tough decision,” said Hansen, who replaced Ray Sasseville as Sturgis North president, of leaving Spallumcheen. “The MotoPlex is a great venue. There are still going to be some events at the MotoPlex.”
That, however, was news to Newcombe.
“Nobody has formally asked me about next year,” he said. “I’m not saying we wouldn’t be open to hosting an event.”
The Township of Spallumcheen was surprised to hear of the Sturgis North decision to return to the Shuswap when contacted by The Morning Star Wednesday.
“We wish the Neskonlith Indian Band all the best,” said Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven. “We felt that for the work council did and all the work that the MotoPlex did, it (the festival) wasn’t very much of a benefit to the residents of Spallumcheen. It was a cost to us, not a benefit.”
Van Tienhoven clarified the costs had to do with the amount of staff time that went into facilitating meetings with event officials and community stakeholders.
When the event was held in Salmon Arm in 2011, it left a bad taste in the mouths of some businesses. Several were not paid for the services they provided.
Hansen vowed to sit down with the creditors and pay off what she called the “legitimate debt.”
She contends Sturgis North was overcharged for many services, pointing out the costs of the 2011 festival were $2.6 million, and dropped to $700,000 in 2012.
“That’s a lot of over-billing,” said Hansen. “With that in mind, I think we’ll do fine.”
Newcombe said all bills at the MotoPlex were paid.
Hansen said Sasseville is no longer involved with Sturgis North.
–––with files from the Salmon Arm Observer