An Open Letter from the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Board

The groundswell of support for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival over the past eight days has been extraordinary. We have received numerous messages of love and support from our Festival attendees, dedicated volunteers, musicians who have graced our stages, past staff and Board members, other festivals, and beyond. We all feel incredibly heartened by the response from the community and truly thank you all for the outpouring of emotion and honest opinions. Since last week’s announcement, several parties have offered possible solutions to fund and support a Festival. This is very encouraging and the Board is actively engaging with these parties to see how these possibilities might be turned into reality. At this stage in our discussions, we must keep the details confidential. Given these developments, we have rescheduled the AGM previously scheduled for Wednesday, February 1st, 2023, to Wednesday, March 1st, 2023 and are pausing the motion to dissolve the Society while we explore possible options to save the Festival. An updated notice of the AGM to our Members is forthcoming. In place of the previously scheduled AGM on Feb 1st, 2023, a Town Hall will be held at the same time and location. It will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and meet with the Board. Priority admission will be given to Members in good standing, and is based on room capacity. Information will be posted on our website shortly.

There have been many incredible musical highlights in the 45-year history of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. Unfortunately, our financial history has seldom reflected the same harmony. In the spirit of transparency, we feel it is important for the community to know and understand that the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society’s financial situation has long been untenable and this approach to the running of the Festival is unsustainable. In tandem with our tenuous financial situation, there has historically been strong opposition to corporate funding to support the festival. 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. In consultation with our festival counterparts, we know that these relationships take years to build before substantial funding can be secured. Although we have undertaken many cost-saving measures along with exploring options to increase funding while still upholding the values of the membership and responsibilities to artists, vendors, and suppliers; as a Board, we could not, in good conscience, agree to continue to allow the Festival to run into debt again. We have letters of assurance that all our grants are being held and we are still in good standing with our previous funders. We want to ensure the future of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, in whatever form it may take, is sustainable and able to operate in the new reality that we face.

As we continue to work together as a Board, we want to assure you that we are considering every opportunity that is being brought forward to us. We are engaged in ongoing meetings and discussions, due in part to your commitment and desire to keep the Festival going. We thank you for this support. We would like nothing more than to keep the Festival alive, vibrant, and financially sustainable for the entire community. We are also dedicated to continuing to listen to you, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival supporters, as we work towards the future.

With sincerest thanks,

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival Board

A small selection of photos from the 2022 festival courtesy of our ace photography committee.