The following FAQs were prepared following the board's January 17 decision to cancel the festival and dissolve the society. Since then, there has been further engagement with the community and a reversal of the decision to dissolve. Please see here for the latest.

If the festival was successful this year, why can't we keep doing it?

We were able to produce the festival in 2022 largely because of COVID-related grants that will not be available again. The success of our festival in 2022 means that we have just enough surplus now to be able to wind-up our operation in a responsible way.

Why is the festival suddenly so much more costly to produce?

When we returned from COVID we found that several of our suppliers had gone out of business. At the same time that we had fewer suppliers to work with, we also found that competition for some of our basic requirements (fencing, tents, porta-potties, etc) had increased from other quarters such as movie production and construction projects in other parts of the province. These factors mean that in several cases our costs increased 30% to 50% over the prior year.

How were we able to do the festival in past years when it was common for us not to "break-even"? What is different now?

One of the big differences today, compared to previous years, is that many of our suppliers and contractors are now requiring payment "up-front". This presents a cash-flow problem for us, as we used to be able to wait until the box-office had come in to pay many of our partners but now we need the funds in advance.

Can we down-size to keep the production-costs low while maintaining the spirit of the festival?

Last year we downsized the festival significantly (reducing to three daytime stages; shorter hours Saturday and Sunday; 20 fewer musical groups; no kitchen for volunteers and artists; no Folk Bazaar; no West Gate) – the hard site-associated costs would primarily remain the same with even fewer performers/hours/stages and savings would be minimal. We'd still have to pay around $80k to bring in power; $45k for fence; etc). Generally holding a longer, larger event helps spread the expenses balance out with the revenue by selling more tickets for more artists over more days, etc.

What other options did you explore?

In our efforts to continue with the festival, we explored:

  • Other site options
  • Further increasing ticket prices
  • Partnering with other festivals
  • Attaining major sponsorship
  • Further reducing festival size
Have you considered crowdfunding or putting on a fundraiser?

Seeking community help was an option we considered. $500,000 is a significant shortfall that we will likely continue to experience year over year for future festivals. To raise our funding that way isn't sustainable to run the festival long term and it wouldn't enable us to build up the necessary reserves to fund our up front payments and to provide the long term resources (such as appropriate staffing levels) we need to keep the festival going.

Have you approached corporate sponsors to support the festival?

We have had corporate sponsors for the last several years of the festival but with recent changes to the landscape we are operating in, the funding gap is too large to cover. We would require an additional $500k (approx) in funding EVERY YEAR moving forward to produce the festival with today's pricing. Given the increase in competition for funding, this was insurmountable for us this year, and an annual effort like that would be impossible to sustain, especially in times of economic stress such as we are seeing today.

Have you asked the City of Vancouver for support?

We receive Municipal Support and have applied again this year. We have asked the City for increased revenues, however in recent years they have worked toward including more festivals and arts organizations into their funding. Our grants have thankfully remained stable but are unlikely to increase. We already receive significant provincial and federal funding in addition to City and private funding.

Why did you wait until now to announce that the event will not be held this year?

VFMF Board and staff have been working tirelessly to determine if there could be any way that we might be able to produce the Festival this coming year. We understand that it is late in the game, but we wanted to be really sure that we had exhausted our options.

Why are you making the recommendation to dissolve now?

Dissolving the festival now will allow us to complete an "orderly wind-up." That means that right now we have the funds we would require to meet all of our current financial obligations to staff and other partners. It allows us to close-up-shop in a way that is both responsible and respectful to our community.

What is happening to the festival staff?

The festival has been operating with just two paid full time staff for the past two years. Since we will not be producing the festival in 2023, these two indivuduals have received notice of layoff. The Board is deeply grateful for the monumental effort that was made to produce such an amazing experience for our community over the years.

What if we had more volunteers?

In 2022 the festival was fortunate to have over 900 volunteers come out and help us produce the event. The commitment and generosity of our volunteers has made it possible for the festival to happen each year since our founding. Unfortunately, there are many parts of the production that require special skills and licensing and we can't utilize volunteers easily in those roles.

What will happen to the surplus?

If we have any remaining surplus funds after all of our obligations have been met, we will identify a likeminded community organization to donate the remaining funds to.

What if an angel sponsor appears who can close the funding gap?

If we were to get a surprise infusion of funds today ($400k – $600k would be needed), it would be too late for us to produce the festival this summer. And we would need that level of infusion every year moving forward.

How many votes do you need for the resolution to pass?

This is considered an "Ordinary Resolution" so it needs only a simple-majority to pass.

If I join today can I vote in the AGM?

All members who donated $35 or more and indicated that they wish to join as Festival Members by December 31, 2022 are eligible to vote at the AGM.

How do I cancel my donations?

We will not know if the Society will continue past March 1 until after the members vote. If you are a donor to the festival, we ask that you wait until after the member vote to take action. When you wish to cancel your donation, please refer to the following options or contact info@thefestival.bc.ca.

If you donate via CanadaHelps, Benevity, or Charitable Impact, you will need to cancel your donation via your account on the donation platform. If you have any questions about how to cancel your donation through the donation platform, please contact the platform’s Customer Service department.

If your donation was started on-site at the Festival, or is automatically withdrawn via any method not previously mentioned, please contact us at info@thefestival.bc.ca with the name on your donation and donation amount so that we can assist.