Edmonton has always been known as a festival city, especially during the summer months. And in a city where we reach up to seventeen hours of daylight in June, our people understand more than most the importance of making every moment of that sunshine matter. In fact, folks travel from around the world to enjoy #yeg’s summer festival scene.
Still, as many of our local businesses prepare to open their doors again to the public, most festivals remain classified as too-large for social distancing. As a result, many of our favourite festivals, performers, and theatre support teams have had to cancel or postpone their shows this year. We at The Local Good wanted to use our own #LocalGoodnessYEG project to help you find ways to keep these organizations and players going beyond 2021!
Why is this so important? There is a spirit of community connection that is built into our festivals. Anyone who has volunteered on Gallagher Hill to bring together Folk Fest, brought their family downtown to enjoy the Street Performers, or discovered the collaborative, experimental environment of the Fringe Festival surely understands the essential “YEG-ness” these gatherings bring to our local communities.
How to Help Our Festival Artists (and the groups that support them!)
Drum up some Cash
Most festivals only happen once a year and all revenue is based on the event itself. However, most organizations accrue costs throughout the year, not to mention any costs put into the festivals before having to cancel. We encourage you to visit the website or social media for your favourite festivals and see how you can donate! Many festivals are also registered charitable organizations and can be supported financially through CanadaHelps.org.
Return Their Time and Energy
Our festival players have given their time, energy, and skill to our city for years. And the best way that we can return the favour is to use our time to volunteer for those festivals that haven’t been cancelled this year, who are finding themselves having to rethink their options and create an online experience. Consider contacting your favourite festivals, or check out the Alberta Cares Connector, a new platform designed to connect Albertans who want to help with local volunteer and community service opportunities. This will be updated regularly, as organizations figure out their volunteer needs.
Do you know someone who has been working hard, volunteering to keep their community festival going in these weird times? The Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Program has launched a great program where you can nominate our city’s greatest volunteers and give them the recognition they deserve!
Here’s our #LocalGoodnessYEG list of Festival Do-Gooders Who Need Your Support:
|Arts on the Ave (Kaleido Family Arts Festival/Deep Freeze Festival)||Follow on social media for online programming; donate to It Takes a Village Campaign|
|Cariwest||Follow social media to see how you can help organizers put their creative energies into producing the 2021 festival.|
|Freewill Shakespeare Festival||Cancelled for 2020; all donations eligible for a Canada Revenue Tax Receipt.|
|Fringe Festival||Charitable tax receipts for all donations to help artists; follow on social for online experiences.|
|Heritage Festival||Stay Tuned to the website for a celebration of Canadian multiculturalism in a new online format this year.|
|International Jazz Festival||Follow on social media to see how they will bring Jazz to the community this Summer|
|Celebrate Pride||In the absence of a Pride Parade this year, Fruit Loop will be hosting an online event with community partner, the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society|
|NextFest||A new online format will allow the festival to continue providing a platform for emerging artists, a meeting ground for community, and a springboard for creative invention.|
|Sand/Ice on Whyte||Sand on Whyte is cancelled and Ice on Whyte will be rethinking how to run in 2021. Financial donations through CanadaHelps are welcome and appreciated.|
|The Works Art & Design Festival||Cancelled; help to support plans to return in 2021.|
Project Your Voice
Edmonton’s festival artists are always making sure everyone in the room can hear what they have to say. That kind of wholesome attention is important, and with the events sector being hit so hard by COVID-19, donations can be great, but the reality is that these organizations need sustainable support from our governments. The best thing you can do is project your voice and reach out to your local MLA and let them know you want actions taken to ensure that our beloved festivals can return once it becomes safe to do so. Financial aid is crucial for many of these organizations to survive, with a recent survey emphasizing that many believe streaming and virtual experiences are no substitute for live events.
In short, our festival goers are eager for the return of our festival line-up, in-person. And while we’re all willing to be patient to keep our city safe, we’re sure there will be live #yegfestivals again one day soon! And with everyone adding their support to our local festival organizations, we will be able to ensure that our Festivals can come back strong, and in full swing.
What festival do you miss the most? Reach out and share the best ways to help your favourite #yegfestivals! Don’t forget to tag us or use the hashtag #LocalGoodnessYEG.
Looking to see some online performers alongside your neighbours this month? Celebrate and support #LocalGoodnessYEG during our Online Green Drinks event on May 27! We’re hosting a celebratory open mic session, and tickets are free!
Grab your ticket here!