Advertisement

Regina Folk Festival taking summer off amid financial issues

There won't me a multi-day Regina Folk Festival at Victoria Park this summer. (Regina Folk Festival - image credit)
There won't me a multi-day Regina Folk Festival at Victoria Park this summer. (Regina Folk Festival - image credit)

There won't be a multi-day Regina Folk Festival (RFF) at Victoria Park this summer, but there are plans for it to return next year.

"We are taking a fallow year; a year away from summer festival programming to rebuild our resources and vision in a reality that's still in flux for presenting arts organizations across Canada after the economic challenges resulting from the pandemic," an RFF news release stated.

In June 2023, the RFF asked the community for help keeping the summer event alive, saying it was in a "serious financial crisis."

The festival said economic challenges have accumulated over several years, including increased expenses, stagnant funding, decreased sponsorship and reduced ticket sales.

In September, the RFF laid off most of its staff, despite organizers saying the 52nd edition of the festival went well.

Amber Goodwyn, artistic director for the RFF, said Wednesday that the 53rd edition of the Regina Folk Festival is now scheduled for Aug. 8 to 10, 2025.

"The reason we're doing this really deep review is to make sure that what we present in 2025 is sustainable and practical," said Goodwyn.

Amber Goodwyn is the Artistic Director for the Regina Folk Festival, she says the festival will return in August of 2025 while it takes a fallow year to rebuild resources.
Amber Goodwyn is the Artistic Director for the Regina Folk Festival, she says the festival will return in August of 2025 while it takes a fallow year to rebuild resources.

Amber Goodwyn, artistic director for the Regina Folk Festival, says the festival will return in August 2025. (CBC News)

Organizers said 'You Had To Be Here' tickets purchased last year will be honoured for the 2025 festival.

While there won't be a summer festival this year, Goodwyn said it will be presenting a special concert series throughout 2024, with details to come.

"While we'd all much rather have a party in August instead of taking a pause, everyone understands that this is a thoughtful, considerate, sort of strategic way to be moving forward," she said.

Festival's absence will be difficult for the community

Nick Faye, a Regina-based musician who has volunteered and played for the Regina Folk Festival. said he understands and supports the festival's pause. He said he's seen music communities across Canada facing challenges.

"It's been more difficult to get people out to pre-pandemic levels than maybe people anticipated," he said.

Faye said he looks forward to the festival every year and, although he's happy tp hear the festival will return next year, its absence this summer will be felt.

"It's just been such an important artistic influence on our community," he said. "Sharing those moments with like your neighbours, in the heart of the city, on a beautiful summer night, there is not many things that top that musically and artistically for sure."

NIck Faye say's the delayed 53rd annual Regina Folk festival will be difficult for the community that looks forward to it each year. He says despite this, he understand and supports the organizers attempt to save the festival.
NIck Faye say's the delayed 53rd annual Regina Folk festival will be difficult for the community that looks forward to it each year. He says despite this, he understand and supports the organizers attempt to save the festival.

NIck Faye says the delayed 53rd annual Regina Folk festival will be difficult for the community that looks forward to it each year. (CBC News)

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters also acknowledged the importance the music festival has in the community and said the city is still committed to supporting it.

"We're going to continue to work with the folk festival — we did last summer, we provided a last minute additional grant — and so we're going to continue to work because we want to make sure that venues are meeting the needs of their audience," she said.

Goodwyn said that while sponsorships and fundraisers have helped the festival stay afloat, she is urging the community to further support the festival through donations and buying tickets.

"We ask people to, you know, donate. If they're able to spread the word about the festivals events that we have coming up this year, like our concert series, buy tickets," she said.