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B.C. providing $15M in grants to fairs, festivals and events

Applications to be accepted until Feb. 25
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Rifflandia, which first took place in 2008, is one of Western Canada's longest running music and arts festivals. Its CEO, Nick Blasco, praised the government's B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events fund, from which the new grants will be provided

The B.C. government is providing $15 million in new grant money to support fairs, festivals and events – a niche within the province's tourism economy that is struggling to regain pre-pandemic form. 

The catch is that applications will only be accepted until Feb. 25 at 11:59 p.m., only 18 days after the program was unveiled Feb. 7.

Eligible events include those between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2025. 

“We know fairs, festivals and events have impacts that go well beyond what can be measured in economic terms," said B.C.'s parliamentary secretary for arts and film. "They are a source of community pride and build awareness of our diverse cultures and identities.”

The one-time grants are to come from a new B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events fund (BCFFE).

Event organizers will be able to tackle ongoing challenges in their sector, 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, according to the B.C. government. 

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, according to the government. 

“We are extremely grateful for the past two years of BCFFE funding," said Rifflandia Entertainment Co. CEO Nick Blasco. "Suffice to say, the program has been essential to the growth and future of our festival and so many others throughout the province.”

His festival in recent years has been pioneering to draw visitors. He told BIV last year that his festival would be among the first to allow attendees to order cannabis and pick up orders on-site.

gkorstrom@biv.com

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