With provincial COVID-19 regulations easing this summer, another bit of good news for northwest B.C. residents is that the much anticipated Riverboat Days is planning to pull off a scaled down version of the festival next month.
The Terrace Riverboat Days Society confirmed the return of Concerts in the Park 2021 on July 31, after a hiatus last year. The concert will see mainly local bands from northwest perform this year. Kitimat band, The Rats, will be headlining for the live music event that will be held from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at George Little Park in Terrace.
The festival is officially cancelled this year due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, said Andrew Webber, who is one of the festival directors. He added that the team was focusing on delivering a fantastic festival for 2022. However smaller community events will be taking place over the August long weekend and the Terrace Riverboat Days Society will extend their support with logistics and publicity, said Webber.
As restrictions eased earlier in July, the concert organizers expressed interest in going forward with the festival’s signature live music event. “The concert materialized last week after a meeting with the organizers,”said Webber.
The concert will be followed by an interdenominational church service on Aug. 1 at George Little Park.
Although there won’t be fireworks and parades next month, there will be a scaled down set of activities happening over the B.C. Day weekend, said Webber. “It’s still uncertain, but we’re checking with organizers of the Skeena Salmon Arts Festival to see if they want to do something this year,” he said and added that soccer and basketball tournaments might be a possibility too.
In addition, this year the Riverboat Days festival might also hold a memorial event led by Kitsumkalum First Nation leaders, in light of the recent discovery of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools throughout the country.
Talks are still underway and although details are not final at this point, there may be a gathering on the Monday (Aug. 2) of the long weekend, said Webber.
“Riverboat Days is a time for everyone to get back together as a post-pandemic healing exercise and this also includes reflecting on the recent events affecting Indigenous peoples,” added Webber.
Traditionally, Riverboat Days draws in crowds from all over the region to Terrace in August and offers a variety of arts and entertainment including music concerts, Legion parades, fireworks over Ferry Island and sports tournaments along with a salmon BBQ hosted by the Kitsumkalum First Nation. The 2019 program offered nearly 50 events over 10 days.