Parksville city councillor Al Greir.

Parksville city councillor Al Greir.

Tribute festival gets $1,000 boost from Parksville city council

Organizers of the May 23-25 event say many performers have agreed to appear for free in Parksville

The City of Parksville is now a major sponsor of an event that plans to bring Marilyn Monroe and Elvis to the community centre in May.

Council agreed Monday night to pay the remaining $1,000 of the community centre rental fee for the inaugural three-day Vancouver Island Tribute Festival May 23-25.

Representatives of the group made a presentation to council Monday night.

“This is not a one-time deal and we want it to happen every year,” Fred Judson told council on behalf of the organizers, who say they have the support of, and will supply funds from the event to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I think Parksville is ripe for this kind of festival.”

Most of council spoke in support of the festival and for paying the $1,000 in what’s left in the hall rental fee.

“This would be a great way to bring money into the city,” said Coun. Bill Neufeld. “A vast amount in return for the amount of money we put out.”

No budget or detailed financial information was presented to council. Judson said entertainers — many of whom fetch thousands of dollars per performance — have agreed to appear at the Parksville event this year for free. Many of the costs and duties this year will also be covered by Judson’s transport company, hotel and other sponsors and out of the pockets of volunteers themselves, he said.

While she eventually voted in favour of the motion to pay the rest of the group’s community centre rent, Coun. Carrie Powell-Davison expressed concerns about council’s involvement.

“I am concerned about setting a precedent and I’m concerned about the numbers not adding up,” she said.

Coun. Al Greir was the lone dissenting voice on council when it came to a vote.

“I think this would be great for the city but we seem to be giving out money on a monthly basis,” said Greir. “And it seems to me you could hold a fundraiser and collect (money needed to run the show this year) in a weekend.”

Coun. Marc Lefebvre pointed to the positive “ripple effect” this event could have for local business. “This has a lot of potential,” said Lefebvre. “I’m a big Elvis fan.”

All of the entertainment would take place at the community centre, with a meet and greet on Friday night (May 23), two shows Saturday and a gospel-themed show on Sunday. Aside from Monroe and Elvis, other entertainers expected to come to Parksville, according to organizers, are performers who will pay tribute to Cher, Liza Minnelli, the Everley Brothers and Roy Orbison.

More details, including ticket prices and availability, are to follow in the coming weeks, organizers told The NEWS.

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