The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce officially launched its Smithers Music website at its new business reception Jan. 25 at the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge.
“It was wonderful to get it out there,” said Heather Gallagher, Chamber executive director. “Actually, the site has been up for a little while, but it’s to publicly launch it so people are aware of it and start promoting it so people will use it as a resource and connect musicians and so people can know what’s going on in the Valley, all the abundance of musical entertainment that we have and teachers and businesses, etc.”
The website, www.smithersmusic.com — which sports the tagline “Finger plucking good” — is the culmination of the Chamber’s “Music City” project and is intended to be a one-stop shop for artists, venues, instructors, businesses, events and resources in the area.
The project started last year when Gallagher received a “Music Cities Toolkit” from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“It listed the seven essential components a city needed to be considered a Music City, a thriving music scene, lots of businesses, lots of teachers, lots of venues, lots of opportunities for people to experience and enjoy music, and when I went through it, I thought, ‘we are that,’ ” she said.
The Chamber applied for and got funding through Creative BC and hired Liliana Dragowska to coordinate the project and Coffee Web Development to create the website.
Dragowska had the honour of making the announcement that Friday night.
“There is a lot of provincial and federal funding and attention going toward recognizing the contribution of arts and culture, and particularly music, within our economy and put some energy and support toward that recognition because since the decline of the CD industry in Canada it has been quite challenging for musicians to be recognized and honoured within our economic system,” she said.
Dragowska noted it is really difficult to quantify the totality of the economic impact of music locally, but noted the four main annual festivals in the Bulkley Valley contribute $1.1 million annually.
Aside from just the money, though, Gallagher says there are other considerations.
“It’s not just important in what it generates economically for the area, but if you want to attract people to your area, attract the mechanic, attract professionals, what better place to come to than one that offers the abundance of lifestyle, outdoor recreation, music, entertainment, opportunities for their children to learn from great teachers; it’s really important.”