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Province provides timely support for fairs, festivals, events

February 16, 2023 at 12:03 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Province is providing $30 million to support B.C.-based events in response to calls from the sector for more help.

“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.”

Through the B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events (BCFFE) fund, the Government of B.C. is providing $30 million in 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. Grant amounts will be as much as 20% 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% of the event budget. Single organizations holding multiple events will be capped at $500,000 per organization.

“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.”

This investment builds on the success of the BCFFE program launched in 2021, which provided one-time grants to support the safe return of events earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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.”

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.

Applications will be accepted until March 3, 2023. Events between April 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2024, are eligible for funding. Organizations are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.

Quotes:

Shelley Frost, CEO, Pacific National Exhibition –

“The Province has recognized the challenges and realities of our sector. For communities across the province, fairs, festivals and events are a part of the social fabric. It’s a place people and families come together to celebrate and make memories. This assistance will help ensure the PNE fair and other events thrive as we adjust to a new way of doing business.”

Mark Zuberbuhler, president, Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society –

“This funding is an exciting announcement for the sector. Music audiences and festival partners have all asked for help to save their events. We can all use a helping hand right now, so this funding will go a long way to keep events happening over the next two summers.”

Cara Haughton, board director, Kamloops Exhibition Association, Provincial Winter Fair committee member

“Events such as fairs offer highly entertaining family events and educational activities that often become family traditions. This funding is critical in supporting rural and urban events, both large and small, and enables fairs to celebrate their local agricultural traditions with the general public and provides more time for organizers to make their events sustainable.”

Quick Facts:

  • Over the past three years, the B.C. government has supported the tourism sector with more than $500 million in tourism support, including:
    • BCFFE funding of $30 million in 2021 which 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
    • $8 million in dedicated relief delivered by Indigenous Tourism BC for Indigenous tourism businesses
    • More than $80 million in community-based tourism infrastructure and destination development to help tourism in B.C. recover, create jobs and spur economic development.

Learn More:

To see the B.C. Fairs, Festivals, and Events Fund criteria and application, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/tourism-resources/tourism-funding-programs/fairs-festivals-events-fund

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