Photo courtesy of Kevin Rutkay, used under Creative Commons license
Ottawa Folk Festival (OFF) organizers today announced a plan to propel the 17-year-old music festival into the future. After long deliberations and discussions with several organizations over the past several weeks, the OFF has gratefully accepted a generous loan from Ottawa Bluesfest organizers. This will allow the OFF to pay existing creditors and keep the festival on track for August 2011, and for the foreseeable future.
“For 17 years the Ottawa Folk Festival has delivered a festival that is much-loved in the region, but which has struggled to achieve financial success,” says OFF spokesperson, Bob Ledrew. “This arrangement puts us in a position—thanks to this loan—in which we can be bold in our approach to programming and to staging the event while we move forward. It gives us the ability to do things an organization can do when it’s in good financial shape rather than tenuous shape.”
The OFF explored several options, meeting with representatives of the folk community, with the government agencies that provide funding, and with several sponsors to explore ways of putting the organization on a stronger financial footing for the future. Ledrew says none of these options came close to providing the support that this arrangement has to offer.
“We are also restructuring the OFF’s Board. Several new directors, who bring years of expertise from Bluesfest and other organizations, have been invited onto the Board. Their contacts and knowledge of how to run a crowd-pleasing, successful festival will be invaluable,” adds Ledrew.
“In addition, many others within our extended community of volunteers and organizational partners will work to ensure the festival stays true to its ideals and the longstanding tradition of Canadian community-based folk festivals. We are confident that the unique elements of the Ottawa Folk Festival will remain substantially unchanged.
“We don’t expect to see major changes to the nature of the Ottawa Folk Festival itself. The principles and values that define our festival—and the unique Canadian folk festival traditions of community, family-friendliness, active participation, and social and environmental consciousness—will very much be preserved.
“Staff and Board are now focused on working toward a 2011 music festival that will not only retain the tried-and-true formula for this well-loved Ottawa festival, but will also be an artistic and financial success,” concludes Mr. Ledrew.