Folk festival highlights strong attendance in request for county funding

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The Bear Creek Folk Festival reported over 5,000 people per day for its 2019 festival while requesting a renewal of last year’s $25,000 sponsorship from the County of Grande Prairie.


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Festival Producer Sarah Card gave a presentation on the three-day outdoor event, which took place last August at Muskoseepi Park, during a county council meeting Monday.

“Thousands of people braved truly abysmal weather to come and attend the event anyway,” Card said.

“We had a hill full off people despite the fact that it was six degrees and pouring rain through most of the weekend. It really says a lot to how much people care about the event and want to be there.”

The 2019 festival saw over 500 volunteer contributed 20,000 man hours and record ticket sales leading up to the event. Organizers had hoped for a “turning-point year” where the festival could start becoming financially stable and chip away at its deficit incurred in previous years.

While the adverse weather did negatively affect the usual spike in ticket sales during the week of the festival, Card noted the strong attendance and the community spirit shown at the event.

“The sight of a hill full of loyal music fans was, in fact, enough to turn a number of our naysayers around,” she said.

“Although everybody probably would have preferred nicer weather, the weather was not what people were talking about. What they were talking about was what a great time they had at the event.”

The festival was also provincially recognized with a “Community Attraction Award” from the Alberta Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s really exciting that our recognition has really gone beyond the Peace region,” Card said.


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The festival was unable to give specific revenue numbers until the fiscal year ended and it wrapped up its fundraising activities planned for the remainder of 2019.

The county gave $25,000 as a sponsor for Stage 1 at this year’s festival. As a result, the county had its banner hang on the stage along with receiving other promotional benefits.

Although only requesting the $25,000 for next year, Card suggested the county could get its banner over the main stage (Stage 3) with a $35,000 sponsorship.

Checking the financials

After the presentation, council deferred the sponsorship request from Bear Creek Folk Festival to interim budget deliberations in December.

Reeve Leanne Beaupre said the festival would have to provide its financials to the county.

“As with any type of application to the County of Grande Prairie for sponsorship, we require to see the financials,” Beaupre said.

“We also need to know what our money and our taxpayer dollars are going towards funding.”

Beaupre said the festival helps support the community through efforts such as donating hundreds of tickets to local organizations, including Odyssey House, Serenity Place, Child and Family Services, and Big Brothers and Sisters.

“Council wishes the Bear Creek Folk Festival well,” she said.

“I think it’s like any other organization. It takes a few years to get its footing and it’s gaining in momentum and I see they will have a successful future just by the fact of the sheer number of tickets that they sold even in a very challenging year with weather.”

Next year’s Bear Creek Folk Festival will be held from Aug. 14 to 16, 2020 at Muskoseepi Park in Grande Prairie with a kickoff event on Nov. 13, 2019.

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