Victoria is losing 3 of its major festivals this year. First FolkFest was cancelled, then the Latin Caribbean Festival and now the summer-long Open-Air series of concerts, markets and other events. Today CanWest criticizes the city for refusing to take action and allowing these festivals to slip away; reporting that 71 days of public events and more than 400 performances have now been cancelled. Bringing festivals back after they have folded is a monumentally difficult task.
However I am not sure the blame can be placed entirely on the city. If we look at the panic the passport issue is causing, it seems logical that the city might be worried the tourists won’t come and the festivals will rack up debt. Moreover, the city can’t rely on any additional funds coming from the Feds given that Stephan Harper and the Cons don’t appear to be inclined to provide adequate funding for cities. It’s a pretty sad situation because these summer events are embedded into the fabric of Victoria summer culture and they mean a great deal to both residents and visitors. Maybe the cancellations will reconsidered now that CBC news is reporting that BC and Washington State may get a passport exemption?