Kamloops to take over popular Victoria buskers festival

By James Peters
June 13, 2017 - 9:53am Updated: June 13, 2017 - 12:39pm

KAMLOOPS — Canada's Tournament Capital has beaten out several BC communities to become the next host of the Victoria International Buskers Festival.

The popular Victoria festival has been called off for this summer, and will re-emerge in Kamloops in 2018.

City of Kamloops Tournament Capital Co-ordinator Sean Smith says some of the details still need to be finalized.

"There are several buskers that will come to town for a period of time that we haven't yet confirmed," said Smith.

"Locations are yet to be determined, but it will be a few stages in different parts of town strategically located to take advantage of the tourists and the locals, and just to put on a great show."

Smith says there will be a minimal investment to bring the event to Kamloops, but it wasn't seen as a barrier.

"Too early to tell. We've got some planning to do and some things to figure out but we don't expect it's going to be a big expense, and the benefits will outweigh whatever costs there is."

"We're looking to enhance the programs we're already offering to the public and to make what we have better, and a better experience for everyone."

Smith notes the city hopes adding the festival will attract more tourists to the city.

"I believe there's a certain percentage of the population that looks for these kinds of festivals and goes to a community where the festival is. So I'm expecting it will increase some numbers and as well it will obviously enhance what we've already got."

In Victoria, organizers said friction with "specific tourism interests" in the city's downtown made it impossible to carry on.

Former Executive Director of the Victoria International Buskers Festival Society John Vickers says organizers tried to keep the event in the Captial Region, but eventually expanded their call for interest throughout the province.

In a release, Vickers says the festival had a "large family following" in Victoria, and it could be a challenge to "accommodate the volume of visitors" the event attracts.

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