Depending on who's singing and how high the river's flowing there can be anywhere from 60-100,000 people on site for the three day song-fest.
If it was held in a major urban centre it would be hailed by national media types as a very significant cultural event. Is it because it takes place three hours from Vancouver nestled in the hills of the beautiful Nicola Valley that it receives scant national media attention or promotion?
Matter of fact, festival owners and goers got a little miffed last week when the only items coming out of the 'big city' news on opening night were related to stories of misconduct on site.
And how many crimes against rural humanity took place? A grand total of three. That’s right, trois, tres. And they were not exactly capital offences.
Consider this: On any given weekend in cities of 60,000 - 100,000 population there are literally dozens of criminal incidents that transpire, many are serious, some are lethal. For instance, several days ago, as you know, the RCMP were taxed to the max trying to keep things under control during Kelowna's Wakefest. On one night alone they had over 80 'clients' in the city hoosegow. So to the media hypsters, let me say that three incidents in Merritt is far from out of control.
As a matter of fact, if any would dare to venture onto the fair grounds they would see the full picture which I see every year. Young and old, family and friends, bikers and bankers, enjoying a weekend of western 'culture'. This is another reason I am advocating on behalf of the festival and associated projects for proper acknowledgment from Ottawa for cultural and heritage recognition.
It's long overdue for the cultured minds of centralized federalism to understand that the lore and tradition of our rural 'routes' are often transmitted through the channels of country music. Wish us luck in getting that message through.
On another 'note' this was a good week for the rapid transit system in our riding. Ron Cannan (Kelowna – Lake Country MP) and I were able to announce $11 million to enhance the rapid transit system locally, making it more convenient for riders. Add to that the fact that the Federal Government allows tax credits for anyone who buys a bus pass and you can see how we are reducing the negative effects of transportation on the environment.
To top off the week somebody asked me in light of the recent Earth Concerts if I take personal steps to reduce the Planet's 'global warming'. Well the fact is I do. And as I heard about the lifestyles of rich and famous Madonna and Al Gore (personal jets, large numbers of personal vehicles and multiple homes) I can confidently proclaim that my ecological footprint is far lighter than either of theirs.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.