Vancouver’s embattled Folk Music Festival saved, organizers say

Click to play video: 'New push to save Vancouver Folk Festival'
New push to save Vancouver Folk Festival
Three weeks after announcing this year's Vancouver Folk Festival would be canceled, the board of directors has decided to soldier on and try to save the annual event. It launched a fundraising campaign and is urging fans and supporters to join the effort to save the festival – Feb 6, 2023

Vancouver’s beleaguered Folk Music Festival won’t be packing up the tents after all, organizers confirmed Tuesday.

In a statement Tuesday, the folk festival board president said new provincial funding announced last month has been a “game changer,” allowing the event to stave off financial headwinds and proceed with its Jericho Park event this year.

“This new funding, combined with the strong support of our other funders, partners, other festivals, and the community at large, means we can hold a 2023 festival,” Erin Mullan said in a statement.

The annual three-day July music festival has run for more than four decades.

But in January, organizers said the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising costs and vendors demanding early payment left the event in a position where it would need $500,000 up front to hold the event.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2023 cancelled, future of event in question'
Vancouver Folk Music Festival 2023 cancelled, future of event in question

Organizers announced that the 2023 event would be cancelled, and proposed permanently winding down the society that operates it, prompting an outpouring of support from dedicated fans.

In February, the province announced a $30-million fund to support B.C. festivals and live events, offering grants to individual events of up to $500,000.

Earlier this month, festival supporters — many bent on preserving the event — packed the society’s annual general meeting and elected a new, expanded board of directors.

“Our new larger board has hit the ground running. We have met multiple times since our annual general meeting with unity of purpose,” board vice-president Anne Blaine said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our plan is to use the 2022 festival as a template for this year’s festival. We are working with contractors, artistic advisors, and vendors to make that happen.”

Along with the provincial funding, the organization said it is working on new revenue streams, including increasing its recurring donor base.

It said it is also working with an advisory group of programmers form other folk festivals to help curate a diverse lineup.

Mullan urged fans to keep an eye on the festival website for information about tickets, artists and how to donate or volunteer.

Sponsored content