2013 a good year for Penticton entertainment

Penticton and area arts and entertainment newsmakers of 2013 - part two

Eric Church set an attendance record for the South Okanagan Events Centre when he came through Penticton on Feb. 1 on the Blood

Eric Church set an attendance record for the South Okanagan Events Centre when he came through Penticton on Feb. 1 on the Blood

SOEC sets attendance records

It was once dubbed an eyesore, but as the South Okanagan Events Centre turned five in 2013 many in the community have come around to align with its vision.

Over one million people have been through the SOEC doors over the five years. The facility has forever changed the face of entertainment and events in the South Okanagan.

“I think the negativity in the beginning towards Global Spectrum was one of the biggest challenges. There were certainly mistakes made on our side, but to know that you have this vision and the potential, but to read letters to the editor was a tough slog for a lot of our staff to constantly be hit with,” said marketing manager Carla Seddon. “I think a lot of us took it as a personal challenge as well. We knew that Global Spectrum was a really good company and it was a matter of learning this city.”

In 2013 Eric Church set a record as the highest attended concert to date at the SOEC. This was followed by Brad Paisley, Motley Crue, Alan Jackson and Celtic Thunder.

One of country music’s hottest acts right now, Florida Georgia Line, helped set a first-day ticket sales record at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Dec. 13.

“I think the ticket prices are at a good price point and they were just on the American Country Awards and won six of the seven awards they were nominated for. I don’t think you can get a better band that are hotter right now.”

Florida Georgia Line is bringing their Canadian tour to Penticton on April 10. Global Spectrum has also brought in an array of entertainment including Cirque du Soleil, Avicci, the Harlem Globetrotters and musicals to appeal to a wider demographic. It also has been the home for two Vancouver Canucks Young Stars tournaments, curling and in the summer, Canada’s national women’s hockey team trained in the building.

Kevin Webb, director of events and operation manager, also saw the potential the building had when he came to Penticton during the construction phase. Still, he never would have expected to have played host to some of the megastars.

“Who would have thought when we were sitting in a trailer for our office that Brad Paisley was going to be here, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Rihanna which was 20 trucks and a pink tank,” he said. “The vision of what everyone wanted this building to be has happened.”

An economic impact study of the SOEC and the immediate facilities managed by Global Spectrum shows $33.9 million in total economic activity, generating the equivalent to 368 jobs.


Pentictonite leads Invictus

Entertainment to success

It has been quite the year for Penticton businessman Jim Cressman who is president of Invictus Entertainment Group.

In September he accepted the Ron Sakamoto Talent Buyer or Promoter of the Year award at the Canadian Country Music Awards.

“It was an amazing weekend for sure. To win it in really my first year of business solo, under the Invictus Entertainment Group banner, really meant a lot,” said Cressman, who has been nominated for the award five times, but this was the first under his own business.

The multi-faceted company includes booking services, management services and they are also promoters working with big Canadian and international acts to put together shows. Carrie Underwood, KISS,  Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Motley Crue and others have been brought in by Cressman by working with venue management like Global Spectrum at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

“Penticton and the secondary markets which have been the focus of my company and touring have really stepped up over the years.

“We have just had incredible luck with growing these secondary markets because there is a hunger for the ticket-buying populous to enjoy something A-level in their home towns.

“I have to tip my hat to Global Spectrum, they have found innovative ways to make it work for the artist and work for promoters like myself.”

Invictus Entertainment Group is behind several concerts that will come to the SOEC in 2014 including Florida Georgia Line. The band set the fist-day ticket sales record at the SOEC on Dec. 13.

Cressman said one of the coolest parts of his job is looking out into the audience to see people so excited that an artist of the magnitude of Brad Paisley or Carrie Underwood would come play their small town.

“Then seeing the artist who has 5,000 screaming fans singing back every lyric of every song they have ever put out,” said Cressman. “In both cases of Keith Urban and Brad Paisley this happened and they came up to me after the show and said I want to do more places like this. This was amazing and why I do this.”

Cressman also is a big believer in homegrown talent and manages George Canyon, Aaron Pritchett, Brett Kissel, Charlie Major and One More Girl among others. Many of those artists appeared in a movie Cressman executive producer of, Coming Home For Christmas.

According to him, the DVD had strong sales in Walmart and it was debuted on TV on CMT in December. If this wasn’t enough, along with welcoming another child into his family, Cressman also launched a record label, Big Star Recordings.

“Everyone says in this business if you want to make it you have to believe in yourself. That is partially true,” he said. “More important than that, you need to surround yourself with people who believe in you because you are going to have moments when you lose faith in yourself and when that happens you need someone there to pick you up. I absolutely have had those moments and those people who helped me and I believe in paying that forward.”


Locals shine in national spotlight

2013 was the year for a local business, a handyman and models to shine in national spotlight.

In May Burger 55 was featured in the TV show You Gotta Eat Here! on the Food Network Canada.

John Catucci, host of You Gotta Eat Here!, visits Canada’s small burger joints, greasy spoons and legendary restaurants to taste the food that made them famous and to the meet the colourful characters that make them institutions. He dives into the kitchens to find out what makes the signature recipes so good.

Burger 55 owner Chris Boehm said before the show aired on national television his establishment already saw the benefits.

“It definitely got even more busy after they filmed. A lot of people saw in the newspaper that we were going to be on the show and there are a few commercials kicking around that we are going to be on it soon,” said Boehm.

Summerland’s John Rousseau couldn’t prove he was Canada’s Best Handyman, but the Journeyman tile setter did make his mark on HGTV’s Canada’s Handyman Challenge with his sense of humour. The show puts contestants through rigorous challenges to test their handyman skills in order to be crowned Canada’s Best Handyman.

Rousseau quickly found out that time management was one of his downfalls when put in a crunch and it kept him out of the finals.

“You give a man tools and time and you get perfection. You give a guy tools and no time and you get deception,” he said.

If one of the faces for the First Choice Haircutter’s promotion material seems familiar, there is a reason for that. Penticton resident Colleen Bachmann was chosen in First Choice Haircutter’s Be The Face contest and the print campaign was released across the country in February. Bachmann joined other winners from across Canada in New York to receive modelling training and shoot with professional photographer Guy Aroch, whose clients have included Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret and other top designers.

Another Penticton woman also had the opportunity of a lifetime to be pampered like a fashion model. Amberlee Erdmann won the Internet competition Be The Face of Bootlegger. The social worker’s photos can been seen in Bootlegger retail outlets across the country.

“It is totally empowering and I get that some aspects are superficial with modelling, but honestly it made me feel so confident and beautiful,” said Erdmann “When I look at those images, I can’t believe that is me. I still can’t believe I won and did it.”


Smell of popcorn returns to Penmar Theatre

When the shiny new Landmark Cinema seven-screen theatre opened it left behind a building that the Penticton Community Arts Society is convinced has many years of life left in it.

The group plans to make the theatre an entertainment hub again, restoring it not just to its former glory, but as a centre for a wide range of community entertainment.

“I know in my heart this is great for Penticton. We need the facility,” said Jim Morrison, principal of Wildstone Construction and owner of the theatre. “You will be amazed come the end of April what it is going to look like and what we can do with it.”

Morrison said he was approached by a furniture company who liked the space for their business, but seeing a different vision for downtown he waited for the right opportunity to come around. The first step to restore the Penmar is to reunite two of the theatre’s four auditoriums, which will result in a theatre of approximately 350 seats.  The complete plan will see the auditorium restored to its original size, up to 650 seats.

“The result is a facility that is usable for presentation of movies, live music, live theatre, speakers’ series and many community events,” said Jennifer Vincent, director of the Penticton Community Arts Society. “A clear demand was identified for a variety of film types that are not currently being shown in the region, including ethnic, foreign, second-run and children’s films.”

The society is hoping people support the concept by becoming part of the group. Memberships can be purchased at www.penmar.ca and include a range of incentives. A formal gala grand opening is scheduled for April 2014.


Art House opens new opportunity for creatives

There are big things brewing in shared spaces, and not just when it comes to offices and business.

The Art House Penticton is a project of Cowork Penticton, based on the idea of allowing artists working in a wide range of media to rent space and provide an opportunity to share ideas between other artists.

“Artists are the original co-workers. They have been in collaborative, collective studios since time immemorial … I strongly believe in supporting the artistic community and my husband is an artist and it was something that always rolled around in our mind,” said Jennifer Vincent, Cowork Penticton co-owner.

The Art House, located in the industrial area at 2345 Government St. opened in November as a fixed location for committed creatives and artists. It has both dedicated and common work spaces, a mixture of full-time and casual member artisans who will be able to use the space. Vincent said Art House Penticton will bring together artists to work together to even hold small events or exhibitions.

There are six dedicated studio spaces, four of which have been reserved already. Dedicated studio space can be rented by month or shared by artists and there is also a casual membership which allows artists to store some materials in a cupboard, set up in the common areas while they are there and put things away when they leave. Penticton artist Kindrie Grove is combining forces with Nick and Jen Vincent of Cowork Penticton to create the Art Experiment, a new series of fun evenings to create and play.

“We are teaming up on a couple of things. We have one which is called the Art Experiment, which is going to be a creative experiment night for people to come and play with different materials,” said Grove. “There will be stuff set up for musicians if they want to jam, or poetry readings, anything goes.”

The Art Experiment will take place on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. and rotates between Kindrie Grove’s studio and the Art House.

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