NR: A strong festival industry benefits the entire city

Festival organizers encourage City Councillors to support the growth and sustainability of this very important industry

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As the City of Ottawa continues with deliberations and discussion around the City’s 2017 draft budget, the Ottawa Festival Network (OFN) is encouraging Councillors to support increasing the City’s investment in programming grants for arts, heritage and culture. This support will go a long way to ensure that our festival and cultural industries are in a stronger position for sustainable growth to add to Ottawa’s vibrancy and attractiveness to the skilled workforce and tourists, and create positive socioeconomic benefits for our city beyond 2017 and as we celebrate Canada’s 150th.

The OFN, along with more than 400 members of the cultural community, engaged with Mayor Watson’s vision and participated in the development of the City’s Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture (2013-2018). We shared the community’s excitement when Council unanimously supported it. The Plan not only outlined an investment in culture, but an investment that would impact the city as a whole.

“Festivals and events are unquestionably an important part of the fabric of Ottawa’s identity as ‘Canada’s Festival Capital,’” said Sean Wilson, OFN President and Artistic Director of Ottawa International Writers Festival. “The impact in terms of tourism, Ottawa’s third largest industry, and quality of life are well understood. Yes, festivals are fun, but there are serious benefits in terms of economic impact and job creation, as well as fundraising and creating awareness for many of Ottawa’s charities and nongovernment social agencies. We do very good things for the city, with a relatively small investment.”

Festivals and culture are vital to our city’s economy. A recent study by Nanos Research for Business for the Arts’ 2016 Culture for Competitiveness Study, found that 90% of skilled Ontario workers attend festivals and events annually, and that 65% indicated that a vibrant arts community was a driving factor when relocating for work. “We have creative industry companies who are competing for skilled workers in a highly competitive market,” Wilson added. “They are looking for a place to live that is fun and exciting, and festivals and culture do just that.”

About the OFN
The Ottawa Festival Network is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to providing support, presenting a united voice, and creating an effective networking environment for festivals, special events and fairs in Canada’s Capital Region.

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