The province announced more than $140,000 in funding toward festivals and events in the Greater Sudbury area this week.
“The festival and event industry plays a vital role in strengthening local economies in communities throughout the province,” Nipissing Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli said in a media release issued through his office.
“Our government’s support for festivals and events through the Experience Ontario Program demonstrates that we are supporting organizations across the province that are creating new and innovative opportunities to bring Ontarians together.”
Greater Sudbury area recipients include:
- $50,024 for the Sudbury Performance Group’s Northern Arts Festival
- $43,680 for the Cinefest International Film Festival
- $25,220 for the Jazz Sudbury Festival 2023
- $23,920 for the 2023 YES Summer Festival
Sudbuy.com reached out to Fedeli’s office for insight regarding how this year’s local expenditure compares to that provided by the province in past years, but they have yet to respond. A phone interview with Fedeli was also requested.
This story will be updated if/when they respond.
Provincially, the Experience Ontario program’s $19.5-million 2023 expense is less than half of last year’s expenditure of more than $48 million, meaning various organizations will have received disappointing news this year. Applicants had requested $52.51 million.
Among the disappointed parties is Sudbury’s Up Here urban art and music festival, which has received provincial funding for the past several years and had to scale down this year’s event after receiving no money from the province this year.
This year’s funding scaleback brings it down to pre-2021 funding levels. In 2021, the province more than doubled its annual allotment to $50 million as part of a COVID recovery effort.
We Live Up Here general manager Jaymie Lathem told Sudbury.com they have not received an explanation for not receiving funding after being consistently granted funds since 2018.
"Experience Ontario is a highly competitive program with no guarantee of funding,” a provincial spokesperson said in a written statement provided to Sudbury.com.
“While unsuccessful in meeting program requirements this year, Up Here festival organizers have been notified that Ministry staff are available to assist them with preparing future applications when 2024 program guidelines are available later in the year."
In reaction to the provincial funding news, people have taken to donating money to help make this year’s festival a success. Despite scaling down, organizers report that more than 50 artists will be involved in the festival slated to take place Aug. 18-20.
This year’s recipients weighed in on the funding’s impact in the media release issued through Fedeli’s office.
“These funds will allow so many of our Northern artists to perform,” Sudbury Performance Group president Mark Mannisto said. “Not only to perform, but to make a living through performing. It will add so much colour to the palate of the province.”
For Cinéfest International Film Festival, the funds will “play a vital role in generating increased attention, interest and participation at one of Northern Ontario’s flagship events,” executive director Patrick O’Hearn said.
After this story was initially published, a provincial spokesperson offered the following explanation to Sudbury.com regarding Up Here festival funding:
“Organizers for the Up Here festival submitted an incomplete application, missing required documents and as a result, failed to meet the established program criteria.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.