B.C. has created a one-time $30-million fund to support festivals and events over the next two years, as many continue to struggle to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lana Popham announced the grants Thursday (Feb. 16), noting the challenges organizers have had with increased costs, hiring staff and supply chain issues throughout the pandemic.
Those were some of the issues Vancouver Folk Music Festival organizers cited in January when they said the event may be done for good. Speaking Thursday, the society’s president Mark Zuberbuhler said the province’s offer will help it cover the missing $500,000 it needs to get the festival off the ground. Whether it’ll be enough for this summer is still up in the air.
“We are talking about it, and we think we can do it. We’ll try our best.”
Organizers will have until March 3 to apply for up to 20 per cent of their event budget to be covered, up to a maximum of $250,000. The province said that amount could increase depending on the number of requests it receives.
Applications are open to sporting events, arts and culture events, community celebrations, agricultural fairs and rodeos, and music festivals. To be eligible they must be a pre-existing event and they must be scheduled to happen between April 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2024.
Popham admitted the one-time fund isn’t a long-term solution, but said she hopes it gives the industry “a bit of a breather” and a chance to reconsider how they can make future events more financially sustainable.
It’s the second time the province has provided an events fund since the pandemic hit. In 2021, it also handed out $30 million, which it says ended up supporting 682 events.