It’s not only Kimberley residents who are shocked and dismayed at the decision to cancel the Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships. The KIOTAC website is filling up with tributes and comments as well.
And people are wondering if there isn’t something they could do. The Daily Bulletin received a letter from a Mr. Norm Wilson who travels to KIOTAC every year.
Mr. Wilson is appealing to the KIOTAC Committee and Kimberley residents to at least give the festival one more year, so it can celebrate the 40th KIOTAC in style and everyone could have an opportunity to say goodbye.
Mr. Wilson writes: “This is very sad news indeed. It has been a family tradition for us to visit Kimberley and take part in the Accordion festival for over 25 years. No matter where we live we always seem to find a way to make it….we very much look forward to it each year.
“I understand your reasons for shutting down the festival as we have seen the numbers decline over the years. Saying that I would strongly urge you to consider ending the festival on the 40th anniversary. I feel you could appeal/market to people as a farewell celebration and end on a high note…..one last hurrah.
“I feel people would make the effort to attend knowing it’s the last time to take part and would give people a chance to say good bye.
“It would also give KIOTAC and festival goers a chances to reminisce and look back on the years as there is a lot of fond memories. I feel you would have support from the Town of Kimberley, Tourism BC and its affiliates and not to mention festival attendees to wind down in this fashion. I believe there is time to market and execute a strategy to make this festival possible. I can assure you my family and I and many others would be willing to help out in any way we can.”
From Allan Valberg:
“I can’t believe it’s over….I’ve spent about 30 of my 49 years, competing, adjudicating, playing dances etc. in Kimberley.
“I think back to the first years….they affected me to the core, meeting Bill Baerg for the first time and seeing the passion he had for the accordion…..I’ll never forget that! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that made each year possible. Thanks to every person I ever played with or just sat and talked with!
“Too many memories to put down….
“A sincerely heartfelt thank you to Bill and Jeany!”
From Clara Anderson:
“I am so sorry to hear that KIOTAC is unable to continue. For the last seven years I have planned my summer holiday around playing and enjoying music in Kimberley during festival week. Friendly little Kimberley is well known for its great people, great concerts, fun dances, friendly competition, terrific adjudicators, and all the dedicated, friendly, hard working festival volunteers. As I am a retired elementary school teacher, I have especially enjoyed watching the progress of the children who competed each year. It is my sincerest wish that they, along with everyone else, will continue to play, practice, enjoy, and continue to raise the profile of the accordion. I’ll also be watching for some of these people to be our future stars in the entertainment business.
This news did come as a total shock as i am planing my duet pieces. For the last six years my summer was planned around Kimberly and it will be greatly missed.
There will be no replacement for Kimberly ever, and i want to express my heartfelt Thank You to all the people that made this event possible for so many years.