Shambhala Music Festival will receive $250,000 from the provincial government, one of several events that will get grants to help them stay alive in the wake of the pandemic.
“Arts and culture festivals are such a huge part of our Kootenay lifestyle,” Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson said in a news release.
“The pandemic and the uncertainty it brings has been incredibly difficult for many of us, especially for event organizers. I know many of us are craving a big ol’ Kootenay party, and I’m so excited to see that our government is supporting these events so they are able to come back strong and bring us all the joy that we’ve been missing out on.”
Anderson said event-based businesses deserve support like any other. Organizations that put on events were able to apply for grants worth up to 20 per cent of their total event budget, to a maximum of $250,000.
“We know they’ve had an incredibly difficult two years,” Anderson added in an interview. “All of the festivals either had to switch to an online platform, or change substantially, or weren’t able to operate at all. These are businesses or organizations that bring a lot to our communities.”
Without the funding, she added, she worried that some of the events would not survive.
As for Shambhala, Anderson said it “employs a lot of people and generates a lot of income and businesses for our region at large. To put on a festival like Shambhala takes a full year of work. They’ve had a lot of overhead to cover but been able to get any profit.”
In a news release, Shambhala founder Jimmy Bundschuh expressed his thanks.
“It’s no secret that the last two years have been very difficult for those who work in events and the music industry, and we have not been immune to the challenges,” Bundschuh said.
“This grant will support us with the tremendous challenge of returning after two years of postponed programming. We look forward to creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, as well as getting our staff back to work doing the job they love to do after a very difficult two years.”
The money can be spent on operational costs, health and safety, venue rental, marketing, wages or promotion.
Other recipients include: Starbelly Jam ($40,000); the Tiny Lights Festival ($35,000); the Nelson International Mural Festival ($41,500); Nelson’s Elephant Mountain Literary Festival ($6,000); Nelson’s Harvest Festival ($7,260), and the Kootenay Open Sky Film Festival ($18,000).