B.C.-based events are receiving more government support for sustained recovery in response to calls from this sector for help.
“Fairs, festivals and events are the heart of our communities and contribute to making this province a vibrant place to live and visit,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Our government is proud to support the people who organize and attend these events so we can continue to rebuild our events and tourism sectors for today and the future.”
The Province is providing $15 million in one-time grants to eligible events through the B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events fund (BCFFE). Event organizers will be able to tackle ongoing challenges the sector faces, such as reduced revenue and sponsorships, and rising costs of equipment and services. Pandemic-related impacts on events and communities were amplified by the worst wildfire season in 2023, causing event cancellations and a decline in visitors to certain areas of the province.
Event funding will also support those areas affected by the 2023 wildfires and will help boost visitation and generate economic activity for those communities.
“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 fairs, festivals and events have impacts that go well beyond what can be measured in economic terms. They are a source of community pride and build awareness of our diverse cultures and identities.”
This funding 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. The one-time grants in 2023 continued support to help events still recovering.
Eligible events include sporting events, arts and culture events, community celebrations, agricultural fairs and rodeos. Examples of eligible expenses include operational costs, Indigenous consultation and honorariums, venue rental, marketing, wages and promotion.
Applications will be accepted until Feb. 25, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Events between April 1, 2024, and Sept. 30, 2025, are eligible for funding. Organizations are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.
Kris Fuller, executive director, Vernon Winter Carnival –
“Thanks to the B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events funding (BCFFE) the 64th Vernon Winter Carnival is hosting 136 fantastic events for families and 38 of those are free. Families, regardless of their financial situation, can come together and enjoy the festivities, fostering stronger bonds and creating cherished memories. The carnival is about community, inclusion, tradition, spirit and fun, and thanks to BCFFE’s invaluable contribution we were able to continue something very special for citizens and guests of Vernon.”
Scott Braley, CEO, Curl BC –
“We take great pride in presenting exceptional events that promote participation, competition and performance excellence in curling in this province. The grant we received through the BCFFE fund was vital in helping us succeed in that goal and in providing a memorable experience for competitors and fans at this year’s Curl BC Championships.”
Nick Blasco, president and CEO, Rifflandia Entertainment Company –
“We are extremely grateful for the past two years of BCFFE funding. Suffice to say, the program has been essential to the growth and future of our festival and so many others throughout the province.”
Scott Gurney, executive director, 17 Black Events –
“The BCFFE program single-handedly saved our business and that of many of our colleagues here in B.C. The program has also ensured that businesses within B.C.’s live event ecosystem, like specialty service providers, suppliers and rental companies, have been able to survive, too. The impact of this program reaches far and wide with its economic outcomes, but more importantly, from a social point of view, it has ensured that British Columbians have continued access to arts, culture and live events.”
- Since 2020, the B.C. government has supported the tourism sector with more than $500 million in tourism support, including:
- nearly $30 million in 2021 to support 682 fairs, festivals and events in 134 communities throughout B.C, and another $30 million in February 2023 to support 1,172 events in 184 communities;
- more than $17 million to support Indigenous tourism in B.C., one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry; and
- more than $300 million to support small and medium-sized business recovery, with $154 million for tourism infrastructure, $36.8 million for major attractions and $8 million to restart business events, create jobs and spur economic development.
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