Historic support for Ottawa festivals, special events and fairs announced by the Ontario government

Music Festival

Reconnect program enables festival and event organizers to safely present innovative programming and events

The Ottawa Festival Network (OFN) gratefully acknowledges the Ontario government and Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod for today’s Reconnect Festival and Event program announcement which recognizes the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the hardest hit industries.

Locally, the announcement includes approximately $5.9 million to 50 of Ottawa’s festivals special events and fairs, more than doubling the average annual funding provided to the festival and event sector in the past.

“Our industry has been devastated by COVID-19. This support will help organizers safely deliver events to reconnect people and reengage the artists, vendors, suppliers and approximately 58,000 people whose livelihoods are directly supported by Ottawa’s festival industry,” said Holly Tarrison-Gaskin, OFN President. “This is very welcome news at a time when it is much needed. I would like to thank Minister MacLeod for her hard work to position the industry towards a rebound in 2022 and its long-term success.”

Ali Shafaee, Director of DNA Live and Escapade Music Festival, recognized the demand for safe live events during the pandemic and has successfully presented a series of drive-in shows and pop-up drive-through events. “The funding announced today will help position us for industry recovery. With Ottawa’s vaccination rates and other health indicators trending in the right direction, we are moving ahead with Escapade Music Festival in September,” said Shafaee. “We are receiving very positive feedback and engagement with our audience, and it is also very important to us that we keep our team at work delivering safe and entertaining experiences.”

“This is an important investment for the tourism and culture sector in municipalities across Ontario that have been devastated by the pandemic,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson in a statement. “The support by the government of Ontario through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program will allow communities and businesses to rebound and soon thrive.”

“Ottawa’s festivals are a key selling point when promoting our region,” said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism. “Ottawa Tourism is pleased to see this funding from the province of Ontario, which will allow the festival community to continue to adapt and thrive. The creativity of festival organizers can’t be matched and both residents and visitors to Ottawa will benefit from that talent in the months and years to come.”

About Ottawa Festival Network

The Ottawa Festival Network advances a dynamic industry through research, advocacy and education. We create an effective networking environment for festivals, special events and fairs in Canada’s Capital Region. A not-for-profit service organization, we work cooperatively with members and partners towards a vibrant, inspired and prosperous festival capital.