The Kultrun World Music Festival is a free, two-day community event held in Kitchener, Ontario. For the past three years, the festival has celebrated world music and cultural diversity by showcasing a variety of musicians and other performers.
To deliver this festival for free, event organizers Neruda Arts used corporate sponsorships and Ontario government grants to offset costs. While this is an excellent strategy for growing events year-after-year, event organizers must be aware that this funding cannot be taken for granted.
Although Neruda Arts routinely applies for Celebrate Ontario and other event grants, their recent request for support was rejected and it’s caused uncertainty for the future of the Kultrun World Music Festival. The event could run a $25,000 deficit in 2017; this would cause it to be permanently cancelled for future years.
Kultrun World Music Festival Made Possible Through Celebrate Ontario
The Kultrun World Music Festival is a two-day event featuring a collection of international musicians, dancers, and other cultural performers. Since starting three years ago, the Kitchener-Waterloo region has benefitted through increased tourism, and in 2016, the event reported over 15,000 guests.
Since Kultrun’s first year, organizers have received tourism grants to offset a portion of the event’s operating expenses, ultimately making it more affordable to run. But despite past funding success, the 2016 festival was denied event grants from four different sources, including Celebrate Ontario, the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, the Waterloo Regional Arts Fund, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Failure to obtain funding has left Neruda Arts with a $25,000 deficit, a financial burden that may prevent the organization from successfully receiving funding in the future.
Tourism Event Grants Support New Expenses
Although using event grants are a good idea for event organizers, it’s critical to not become dependent on the funding. This is because grants rarely cover the same event expenses twice. In other words, Canadian government funding is available only for expenses above what was incurred last year. This is meant to stimulate event improvements, upgrades, and to keep growing the event year-over-year.
The Kultrun World Music Festival may have proposed an event identical to last year’s, which would cause them to be deemed ineligible for funding. Government grants can support the expansion of event budgets, but are not meant to support basic operating costs.
How to Receive Celebrate Ontario Event Grants
Celebrate Ontario provides Ontario government grants for new and existing events that increase tourism and event-related spending. Event organizers may reduce the cost of new moveable assets, artist fees, equipment rentals, and accessibility services.
Please Note: At the time of this article’s posting, Celebrate Ontario is not accepting applications. Application intake is expected to resume in early 2017.
However, event organizers may still apply for Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster, a program that provides grants for large-scale tourism events. There are two streams of funding, including grants for Event Bidding and Event Hosting.
The types of events sought by Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster include those receiving significant media exposure and attracting international tourists. Eligible events must have a cash operating budget in excess of $1 million; smaller events will not drive enough tourism to succeed with the Blockbuster stream.
Hiring Grants to Reduce the Costs of Event Management
Event managers can also apply for hiring grants to increase their event’s sustainability. Canadian government funding may be awarded to organizers who employ current students for 4-16 weeks, or for hiring recent graduates for a period of 4-12 months. These youths can be used to help facilitate events at lower cost.
Current Students: Up to 50% of provincial hourly minimum wage (approximately $4,000).
Recent Graduates: Up to 50% of the recent graduate’s salary to a maximum $13,500-$20,000.
Access Ontario Government Grants to Support Tourism Events
Event organizers can enhance upcoming festivals by applying for Ontario tourism grants. Although funding programs require a detailed argument for all of the expenses being incurred, accessing additional funding can help grow your project faster and help it become more sustainable.
To learn more about the Celebrate Ontario program or how to access event funding, please contact Mentor Works. Our team of Government Funding Planners can help to qualify your tourism event, provide insight into eligible and ineligible costs, and accelerate your application submission.
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