There’s a new sheriff of the Invermere Music Festival (IMF).
Troy Cook signed on as director of the festival, filling the role left by outgoing director Jami Scheffer. Mr. Cook heard about the opening and decided it was time to expand his role in the arts community.
Mr. Cook, a Fernie resident, has been involved in the arts community in his community for close to 30 years, as concert director at Fernie’s Art Station (similar to Pynelogs but with a bigger theatre). He has sat on the Fernie art council for 15 or so years, and has been heavily involved with other music festivals. He is also a songwriter and visual artist, under the stage name Big Bubba.
“I was looking for a new challenge,” Mr. Cook told the Pioneer. “It’s going to be awesome. The people I’ve met here have been amazing. It’s a really great group of people and great community: I’m super stoked about what’s going to happen here.”
Ms. Scheffer is the executive director of the Columbia Valley Arts Council (CV Arts). Following this summer’s IMF, the CV Arts Board wanted Ms. Scheffer to focus more of her efforts on other ventures and sought out a new director to take over.
Mr. Cook was introduced to the community at large on Monday, November 13th for a forum on the future of the music festival.
“It was amazing,” Ms. Scheffer shared of the forum. “We ended up with pretty much a full house which was so great. A lot of the people that came were on the younger side which we were looking for, and they all came because they wanted to be a part of the festival. We’ve got new board members, new volunteers, and lots of new ideas.”
Mr. Cook agreed the forum was excellent.
“I think everyone after that Monday meeting was smiling,” recalled Mr. Cook. “I think there was a lot of worry but that’s going away now.”
He says from his first study of the IMF, it is in good shape.
“It’s been organized spectacularly; it’s a very well put together festival,” he reported. “What we’d like to do is move it to the next level, so we can improve on the music and build the festival up a little bit more.”
One of his first goals is to move the IMF towards a self-sustaining festival. Mr. Cook has been stage manager and MC of the Wapiti Music Festival in the Elk Valley, which has run for the same length of time as the Invermere Music Festival (five years).
“Not only do we make a lot of money at Wapiti, but they have enough money in the bank to run the festival without even paying a dime. That can be achieved,” he envisions for IMF. “There are things I’ve learned with that festival I’m going to apply to Invermere and we’re going to make it happen so that not only is there a profit and we’re going to build a nest egg, we can throw back to the arts community; that’s my goal.”
Mr. Cook is looking to change a few things for next year’s IMF, including business participation opportunities, and possibly launching an acoustic stage. He is on the lookout for a volunteer director and some more volunteers.
While the future of the Invermere Music Festival is now settled, there has not been a clear decision yet about how much CV Arts will continue to be involved with the event moving forward. Ms. Scheffer affirms she will still be involved in the 2018 festival, just in a smaller capacity.
In other news at CV Arts, Pynelogs is open far later this year than normal thanks to the successful partnership with Cafe Alllium.
“The new cafe operators wanted to give the fall winter season a try at being open,” explained Ms. Scheffer.
Usually, the gallery is open until the end of September. This year, they plan to stay open until early January, reopening some time in February with a brand new gallery show. Ms. Scheffer says the partnership with Allium, which opened this past spring, has been phenomenal, and fits in with the CV Arts mandate of supporting all the arts, including culinary arts.
On display at Pynelogs now is a variety of local art. Ms. Scheffer invites the public to come on down and check out the gallery, any time Wednesday to Sunday from 12-9 p.m.