One hundred tickets to next year’s sold-out Shambhala Music Festival are up for grabs, with proceeds from their sale going to the Room to Live campaign.
“The affordable housing situation in Nelson is ridiculous,” Shambhala owner Jenna Arpita told the Star.
“There’s a zero per cent vacancy and it’s the people who are already marginalized who are being most affected.
“People are living on the streets, both the shelter and the women’s shelter are full, and so many people are being forced to move away because there’s nowhere suitable for them to live.”
This is a subject that Arpita is passionate about, having worked in Nelson Community Services for many years, so along with her partner Jimmy Bundschuh they decided to bolster Nelson CARES’ three-year capital campaign, which aims to renovate and revitalize Ward St. Place.
“The reasoning behind this was two-fold: we knew there were a lot of locals that were bummed they didn’t get a chance to get a ticket this year, and this way they can know they’re supporting a great cause,” said Arpita.
The tickets will be made available during two fundraiser nights at Bloom Nightclub on Oct. 21 and 22, with performances from DJ Slynk and the female DJ collective Meow Mix. There will also be a free ticket given away as a prize to “the funkiest, most colourful and outlandish rave costume in the dance.”
And Nelson CARES executive director Jenny Robinson is stoked.
“Affordable housing cuts through musical genres,” Robinson said, noting the two events being held at Bloom Nightclub mark the first time they’ve hosted something with an electronic music theme.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what type of music to listen to: if you can’t find a place to live, you can’t find a place to live. Nelson is home for a lot of people who want to stay here, so we think it’s really great that Shambhala is hosting these events and supporting the work we’re doing.”
Robinson said the intensifying housing crisis is putting pressure on their services.
“We’re seeing more and more people on our lists. There’s a pressure building in our community, the vacancy rate has been holding strong, and we’re not seeing any relief. People are getting really desperate.”
And it’s not just the homeless or marginalized that are being forced out of the community, according to Robinson.
“These aren’t just transients — these are people who have lived and worked here their whole lives who just can’t make ends meet with a minimum wage job. From our perspective this situation has definitely intensified.”
The next Nelson CARES fundraiser will be held at the Capitol Theatre on Nov. 4 and will feature six Kootenay Divas: Laura Landsberg, Aryn Sheriff, Bo Conlan, Bessie Wapp, Sydney Black and Melody Diachun.
According to Robinson, they’re on track to meet their initial goal of raising $690,000 by November 2017. Currently renovation work is being done on the back courtyard of Ward St. Place. They recently laid a new concrete slab and rebuilt some stairs.
Arpita encouraged everyone in the city to think about those struggling to get by, and to do their part.
“I think something has to change in Nelson, and hopefully we’re going to be a part of that.”