Dear Members and Friends of the Tantramarsh Blues Society,

We write to you today regarding some disconcerting developments on the music front. As you know, TBS has been presenting a combination of 6-8 American and Canadian acts every year for the last 12 years. Recent changes in the Temporary Worker Program, to which we have to apply to bring the American bands across the border, may now make it impossible to present these acts. In the past, we usually payed a fee of $450 per American band per mini-tour, that was shared between the various Maritime venues. Now, perhaps because of alleged misuse of  the temporary worker program by large corporations, the fee for a five member band has been increased to $2125. This charge is possibly per venue, or, at the very least, per tour (the interpretation is at unclear).

We are hoping that the government finds a way of exempting musical performances from these draconian changes, especially when they take place in small venues and are sponsored by non-profit organizations. But in order to be heard, we will need as many of you and all your friends who are interested in live music to sign a petition to Jason Kenny, Minister for Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism. I am happy to say that at the time of writing this email, over 66,000 people had signed the petition. But we need more to ensure that the government listens. Here is a link to the Electronic Petition

In case you have problems with the above link, you can go directly to http://www.Change.org and hit the link for “Stop the Canadian Government from Destroying the Live Music Scene.”

We are grateful for all the support that we have enjoyed from you over the years and hope to be able to bring you live music for many more years to come. Again, please feel free to share the contents of this email with your friends.

For more details on the issue, please read Mike Bell’s excellent article in the Calgary Herald

Sincerely, The TBS Team