With the Ontario government's newly announced $49 million investment as part of the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, 46 events and festivals in the City of Ottawa are able to receive $250,000 to help organize and innovate this summer, fall and winter.
"What happened in the arts, touring and entertainment industry is that many people who were working or supporting the industry have now left and taken other work because there's been no work for 16 months," says Mark Monahan, Ottawa Bluesfest executive director and organizer. "What something like the Reconnect Program has done is allow us to hang on to our greatest asset, and that's our full-time staff."
Monahan said without the manpower, events just don't happen, so this new funding will help events hire and retain staff, while at the same time as provide the necessary cash to modify events according to current public health guidelines and restrictions.
"This investment from the province means we can move ahead with events that we've been thinking about doing, and up until a few weeks ago had difficulty planning because we hadn't moved into step three," Monahan explained. "With the announcement of step three and the ability to organize events, this investment now provides the funding and the last impetus to jump start the industry."
Monahan, who also organized the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit at Lansdowne Park, said because of the $250,000 the event received, they were able hire over 100 people.
In the coming weeks and months, Ottawa will see the return of events like:
- Jazz Festival
- Nostalgia Music Festival
- Haunted Season at Saunders Farm
- Drive-in Movie Experience
- Escapade Music Festival
- Ottawa Bluesfest Canadian All-Stars Project
- Ottawa Chamberfest
- A Country Christmas at Saunders Farm