SALMON ARM, B.C.—As the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society prepares to celebrate the 30th annual ROOTSandBLUES next summer, the non-profit society opens its doors to a new leader.
With more than 20 years of industry experience under his belt, Kevin Tobin is ready to move into the artistic director role as incumbent Peter North steps down.
“ROOTSandBLUES has a rich history of presenting world-class artists from home and abroad that reflect the diverse Salmon Arm community,” says Tobin. “I’m excited to work with the dedicated board, staff, volunteers, stakeholders, and sponsors of the festival. The ability to complement the talented staff with my artistic programming experience and call Salmon Arm home is an incredible opportunity.”
Tobin comes to ROOTSandBLUES from the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival—an annual festival in Saskatoon that welcomes more than 75,000 fans over 10 days—where he was artistic director for 18 years.
“I’m excited to have Kevin on board to see how he expands and improves the ROOTSandBLUES experience going into this special year of our 30th annual festival,” says Executive Director David Gonella.
A Durham College entertainment administration graduate, Tobin received the 2009 Fred Heal Tourism Ambassador Award and was a 2013 Lieutenant Governor Leadership in the Arts nominee.
“I’m honoured the Society has entrusted me to continue its long and storied tradition of supporting and showcasing regional musicians as well as bringing renowned artists to Salmon Arm,” says Tobin. “I look forward to being accessible to festival fans to ensure we deliver programming that excites and engages new and current patrons.”
Kimm Magill-Hofmann, Society board chair, says the HR committee received applications from several qualified candidates.
“The committee created an extensive interview process to ensure we were getting a great artistic director who would be a good fit,” says Magill-Hofmann. “We are very excited to have Kevin join our team and are looking forward to building on the legacy that Peter leaves.”
Tobin follows North, who joined the Society and ROOTSandBLUES as artistic director in 2014.
“Peter has been wonderful to work with over the last seven years,” says Gonella. “I have had the pleasure to work with two previous artistic directors, and Peter’s expertise, musical tastes, and his unique approach to workshop programming helped to sustain the legacy of the Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival.”
North’s workshops also received praise from fans and musicians, Magill-Hofmann says.
“Peter has a knack for putting musicians together and giving them the right nudge to create something you’ll never see anywhere else. These have been some of the most memorable performances of the festivals,” says Magill-Hofmann. “I have fond memories of seeing Peter on the grounds during the festival with a big grin on his face, happy about how well things were going.”
North helped guide ROOTSandBLUES forward, leading to a string of highly successful years before the ongoing pandemic pushed both the 2020 and 2021 festivals online.
“From everyone at the Society, we’d like to thank Peter for his dedication and leadership over the past seven years,” says Gonella. “He truly helped shape the festival that thousands have come to know and love.”