The B.C. government will again offer $30 million to support B.C.-based events, in response to calls from festivals for more help.
As it did last year, the B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events (BCFFE) fund will offer one-time grants to eligible events in response to challenges the sector is facing, such as loss of staffing and volunteers, supply-chain issues, and a cautious return of audiences following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant amounts will be as much as 20 per cent of the total event budget, to a maximum of $250,000.
Depending on the number of applications received, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport may provide grant amounts higher than 20 percent of the event budget. Single organizations holding multiple events will be capped at $500,000 per organization.
In 2021 the fund supported 682 events: 233 arts and cultural events; 222 sport events; 72 live music festivals; 105 community celebrations and gatherings; 43 agricultural fairs, exhibitions and rodeos; and seven other types of events.
That included $250,000 for the Music Talks Music Festival, and two small grants for events put on by both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows city halls.
“The core of our work is to listen and respond to the priorities of people in B.C.,” said Bob D’Eith, parliamentary secretary for arts and film. “We know events are integral to the spirit of our communities and economy. Today’s announcement shows we are delivering for the sector by providing more support for the continued recovery and success of fairs, festivals and events across the province.”
Some events in Maple Ridge organized by non-profits, including the two-day Caribbean Festival, have complained they were not made aware of the fund last year, and received no funding.
“The past three years have been incredibly difficult for people in the tourism industry, including live events, and we know not every business has fully recovered,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Our government is proud to provide funding to support fairs, festivals, and events throughout B.C. as they re-establish themselves. We know that these types of gatherings fill British Columbians’ hearts with joy. We also know that in many cases they support a greater economy right across the province.”
Eligible events include sporting events, arts and culture events, community celebrations, agricultural fairs and rodeos. Examples of eligible expenses include operational costs, health-and-safety measures, venue rental, marketing, wages and promotion.
“This timely investment will ensure events and festivals can continue, bringing tourism and economic benefits to the province,” said Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC. “Local events in communities large and small bring increased exposure to communities and provide employment opportunities for residents, while contributing to the vibrancy of the community. This is an exciting announcement for the industry.”
Applications will be accepted until March 3. Events between April 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2024, are eligible for funding.
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