Many of Ottawa’s music, arts and entertainment festivals will receive increased financial support through a new funding program from the Ontario government. The one-time increase in funding to the festivals and events sector will not only help people engage in the art and their communities, but will also help festival networks in need of support, according to a statement from the province.
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, announced the funding in Toronto on August 4. “She said.” Increasing our annual support for festivals and events will give the industry a much needed boost as we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19. “
The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, CityFolk Festival and Beyond Van Gogh Ottawa are just a few of Ottawa’s 50 recipients of the Reconnect Festival and Event program. Festivals and cultural events in the Ottawa region will receive over $ 5.8 million combined under the program.
Another recipient of Ottawa funding is the Escapade Music Festival. In a statement, festival director Ali Shafaee said, “The funding announced today will help us position ourselves for the industry’s recovery. It is also very important for us to keep our team at work to provide safe and fun experiences. “
“My reaction was that it was good to see the province listening to the industry and the challenges it is going through because of COVID,” said Lee Dunbar, director of research and communications for the Ottawa Festival Network.
Dunbar says that while some federal grants have helped keep festival workers employed, the many industries and service providers that help make festivals and cultural events happen need support.
The funding largely allows legacy festival organizations to offer programming that differs from their usual in-person rate. This year’s lineup is either completely virtual or a hybrid of in-person and online performances and events, Dunbar said.
In a statement, Holly Tarrison-Gaskin, president of the Ottawa Festivals Network, estimated that approximately 58,000 people are directly funded by the city’s festival industry.
“Speaking with our members, they are concerned about their own sustainability, but they are also very concerned about the entire festival ecosystem,” said Dunbar. “And so this money was welcome to keep people working, but also to keep this supply chain as intact as possible in the situation.”
Those included in the festival’s supply chain range from audiovisual teams, lighting technicians and staging teams to sanitation companies, fencing teams and caterers.
Dunbar added that he and his colleagues have heard reports from the entire festival ecosystem that around 95% of their income has been cut. “It’s pretty devastating for some of these organizations,” he said. “So if this [funding] does not occur ? Yes, that would have been very dangerous for the industry.
He noted that most of the Ottawa Festival Network events are non-profit. “They exist to share culture, they exist to share art and performance,” Dunbar said. The organizers who keep festivals alive don’t just do it for their own good, he says, “but many of them are doing it just to give the opportunity to the art and culture they love so much. continue to progress. “