Performances in the Park will not be happening this summer due to COVID-19 restrictions, but organizers are planning to record a few concerts in the Cariboo to share online. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

COVID-19: Williams Lake’s Performances in the Park 2020 to go live on tape

Plans are in the works to record some live performances to share online

Another summer event in Williams Lake impacted by COVID-19 restrictions is Performances in the Park.

Every Thursday evening during the summer months, locals gather in Boitanio Park to hear live music from the Gwen Ringwood stage, but this year that won’t be happening.

Community Arts Council of Williams Lake programs manager Venta Rutkauskas is managing performances in the park this year and said ‘loose’ plans are in the works to record some live performances that will be shared online.

“I met with the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society president and executive director last week about how we could still create some art in lieu of gathering in the park,” she told the Tribune.

The hope is to record four concerts in various Cariboo locations with potential small audiences, as sponsors and the artists will have the opportunity to invite a few people.

“I’ve seen lots of livestreams where people are performing to nobody and it feels vapid, like performing to a void,” she said. “It might be nice to have a few people and I know we can do small gatherings. And for health and safety reasons I think we can do it right.”

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Brandon Hoffman, who normally runs the sound for Performances in the Park, will be doing it for the recorded concerts and Rutkauskas has contracted Rick Magnell to do the filmmaking.

“Rick does a nice job and has been doing some filming for Pharis and Jason Romero,” she said.

While there is no shortage of online concerts during the pandemic, she suggested it would be great to feature the region’s artists.

“If we can offer a little venue for artists, they will also have the video to take home as promotion for later.”

All of the sponsors for the series are still willing to contribute funding and Rutkauskas said she is brainstorming how to include an introduction, perhaps with an MC for each video that incorporates the sponsors.

“Nothing will replace the magic we see with lots of people and the live performances, but we will do this and we discussed how this could be part of an ongoing thing where we pick a few artists to do this again for.”

Once the lineup is confirmed Rutkauskas will share the information, adding Ingrid Johnson, fiddle instructor for the Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers, has offered her family’s large barn on the Onward Ranch as a venue for one of the concerts.

Read more: Arts on the Fly confirms it is cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions

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Rick Magnell, left, goes over some details with Venta Rutkauskas for this summer’s alternative plans for Performances in the Park that will see Magnell film about four live concerts in the Cariboo region for the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

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