Canada's Federal Budget Throws Struggling Festivals a Lifeline with More Relief Funding

Canada's Federal Budget Throws Struggling Festivals a Lifeline with More Relief Funding
Photo: Rick Clifford
This week, the Canadian federal government rolled out its 2021 budget, and it's given Canadian music festivals large and small some welcomed financial relief.

In the 2021-2022 federal budget released yesterday (April 19), the Government of Canada has earmarked $200 million in spending to support major arts and cultural festivals (through regional development agencies) and another $200 million to smaller local festivals (via Canadian Heritage).

This comes in addition to the $181.5 million that the government announced for live events and the arts in last November's Fall Economic Statement.

Beyond that, the budget also earmarked $70 million over three years to support musicians and music venues, as well as another $60 million over three years to the Canada Media Fund for TV and film, the Globe and Mail reports.

As could be expected, the relief is welcome news for many festival organizers in Canada, with many now being forced to cancel their events for the second year in a row due to the ongoing pandemic.

"This is a crucial step towards enhancing the sustainability of festivals and events across Canada," said executive director Mark Monahan of Ottawa's RBC Bluesfest in a statement. "Immediate relief is definitely needed, and we are encouraged to see that the plan includes longer-term relief as well. This funding boost will go a long way to bringing about a brighter future for the industry and help us to come back bigger and better."

As previously reported, RBC Bluesfest recently called off its 2021 festival — something many other Canadian events of all sizes have also had to do recently.