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Montreal Festivals |  The opposition condemns the stagnation of municipal funding

Montreal Festivals | The opposition condemns the stagnation of municipal funding

Plante's administration is partly to blame for the financial difficulties and disappearance of many Montreal festivals, due to stagnant municipal funding given to these events, according to the opposition in city council.

Many festivals have had to deal with the same support from the city for several years, Councilor Stephanie Valenzuela, of the Montreal Ensemble party, lamented Monday during a city council meeting.

This is the case of Just for Laughs, which receives $600,000 from the city, the entire Montreal Circus ($630,000), the Montreal International Jazz Festival ($600,000), and the Transamerica Festival ($400,000).

The Go Vélo festival, organized by Vélo Québec, which notably includes the Tour de l'île, has faced a reduction in funding: it will receive financial support of $120,000 from the City of Montreal in 2024. In 2016, when the City of Montreal granted $135,000 for this festival. “I find it difficult to explain how the City of Montreal can provide less funding for events that are so important to Montrealers and the impact of their city,” added Montreal North Mayor Christine Black.

“Ten days ago, festivals raised a new cry of alarm Journalism. “Organizers are facing a financial headache,” added council member Chantal Rossi, referring to the open letter in which representatives of several festivals reported increased organizational costs of 30 to 40%.

Read the open letter

According to the opposition, Montreal's reputation as a festival city is at stake.

“We are seeing this great model collapsing, festival after festival. The list of closures is growing and cancellations are accelerating,” says M.I Valenzuela, citing, in addition to the “Just for Laughs” setbacks, the disappearance of Carifesta, Heavy Montreal, World Weekends, Montreal en Viete (which organized the New Year's celebrations), Carnival of Colors, and Black and Blue. Festivals and theatrical coups in particular.

The city will meet with festival officials

The head of culture within the administration, Erica Alnos, responded to these concerns by announcing that the city's mayor, Valerie Plante, had summoned festival representatives to a meeting to be held on Friday, to discuss these issues. The first meeting was already held last December.

She also explained that funding for three-year periods has now been announced, in order to give more “predictability” to the festivals, and that the city has also provided logistical support and equipment to the organisers. For example, in the case of the Go Vélo Festival, this support in the field of goods and services is estimated at approximately $1.8 million.

In an interview with MI Alnus added that funding for some festivals, such as Nuits d'Afrique and Fierté Montréal, has increased recently due to certain circumstances.

“We need to take a step back to address these issues and find systemic solutions. Yes, costs have risen dramatically, but there is a financial reality that we are also experiencing as a city. We will have a plan for this summer and we will continue to make sure that festivals can make our identity,” she concluded. The celebration shines.”