Vote to dissolve Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society put on hold as board explore options
A vote to dissolve the society behind the beleaguered Vancouver Folk Festival has been put on hold as the board explores options to save the music festival.
Last week, organizers said the festival will not be returning to the city in 2023, as rising production costs and a changing event landscape leave the event's long-term future hanging in the balance.
At the time, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society (VFMFS) said it would take an extra $500,000 to produce a festival this summer, which would be "unfortunately not realistic or sustainable" given its current cash flow.
In an open letter published Thursday, the festival's board says it has heard from parties offering possible solutions to fund and support the festival.
"This is very encouraging, and the board is actively engaging with these parties to see how these possibilities might be turned into reality," the letter reads.
The letter says there's been an extraordinary response to the decision to cancel the festival, with board members receiving numerous messages of love and support from attendees, dedicated volunteers, musicians and many others.
Members were set to vote on whether to dissolve the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society at an AGM scheduled for Feb. 1. An announcement about the festival's long-term future was expected the following day.
The AGM has been moved to March 1, and the board says it's pausing the motion to dissolve the society as it looks into "possible options to save the festival." In place of the scheduled AGM, a town hall will take place on Feb. 1.
The society — a not-for-profit, charitable organization — hosts year-round concerts and events in addition to the flagship, volunteer-run festival.
The letter goes on to say the society's finances have "long been untenable," and there has been a history of opposition to taking on corporate support.
"As views began to change on this, it became apparent that we were far behind the curve in building relationships with potential corporate funders in comparison to other festivals," the letter says.
"In consultation with our festival counterparts, we know that these relationships take years to build before substantial funding can be secured."
While the board says it has assurances that its grants are being held and they are in good standing with previous funders, they want to ensure the future of the festival is sustainable.
The three-day festival has been a fixture of the region's arts and culture scene for nearly 45 years. Consistently one of the most popular celebrations, the festival found success in its heartfelt community atmosphere and commitment to bring concert-goers music from all over the world — from bluegrass to Celtic folk and indie rock.