Route 97’s ‘road culture’ of live performance unlocks opportunity for regional B.C. artists and audiences

Oct 28, 2022

Stretching from the Yukon down to the United States border, Route 97 is the longest continuously-numbered highway spanning the province of B.C. With numerous tours and artists already making stops from Alberta through to western British Columbia as part of longer tours, Mandy Wheelwright and Mark Greenhalgh saw an opportunity to help fill the gaps between these stops through the creation of a new enterprise that would consciously showcase these same activities: Route 97 Culture. Over the next few weeks, Route 97 Culture will animate a host of regional venues with top-flight artists.

By creating a ‘road culture’ of live performances, supported by meaningful partnerships with venues and event producers in each region, Route 97 Culture brings diverse musical performances to audiences throughout the interior of BC, ensuring that regional audiences have access to the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. Amplify BC’s Music Industry Initiatives and Live Music programs has proven formative to this initiative’s sustainability and continued success.

Alex Cuba in a recent performance.

Throughout the Fall of 2021, Route 97 Culture has presented a broad diversity of artists, including Grammy award-winning BC-based vocalist, Alex Cuba, and BC-based Indigifunk band Curtis Clearsky & the Constellationz. Looking ahead, their next event will showcase Inuit throat singers PIQSIQ on November 4, 2022, at the Okanagan College Campus. 

With the goal of creating a robust regional touring corridor that unlocks opportunities for artists and audiences alike, while also showcasing different musical styles and animating regional venues, Route 97 Culture has more surprises in store over the coming weeks. Next month, the company will reach into a new genre by presenting the fast-rising indie pop powerhouse Begonia. Begonia will be performing on November 18 at Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre, followed by a November 19 engagement at the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre, and culminating on November 21 at the Cleland Theatre.

Tickets can still be purchased online for the Penticton show at Cleland Theatre here. 

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