It was a heavy decision on part of the organizing team to cancel this year’s Arts on the Fly festival.
That said, it took surpizingly little time to move through the five stages of grief and come to terms with the cancellation. We have bigger fish to fr…. save from frying.
What I wasn’t expecting was the remarkable support from our community around the province. On July 10, Marin (Patenaude, co-director) sent out an email to our artist roster to tell them the news. Hours later, a handful of our Vancouver artists were writing back to tell us they were organizing a benefit concert at the Wise Hall in East Van.
Here, I was expecting to have to dump our budget into contingent artist fees, and our artists literally organized a festival of their own to help us out.
This Saturday July 15 (what would have been night-two of the festival), artists like Khari Wendell McClelland, Jasper Sloan Yip, Lydia Hol, Real Ponchos, Kitty & The Rooster, Leathan Milne, Cole Patenaude, Colin Easthope and more are lined up for an extremely ambitious last-minute benefit concert.
The Arts on the Fly Festival Society does not foresee a huge financial burden because of the cancellation, so beyond covering a few unrecoup’able costs, donations gathered at the benefit will go towards the Red Cross’ Northern BC wildfire relief fund. Many thanks to Lydia Hol, Steve B (from Wooden Horsemen), and Jasper Sloan Yip, as well as Jasmine Liddell at the Wise Hall for putting this show together. I will be there with bells on.
Other friends to reach out were MoM Festival in Fort St. James, and the Rogue Arts Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Both of these festivals will be honouring Arts on the Fly Passes at their gates. Online ticket holders have automatically been added to a guest-list for both of these festivals, and may arrive with ID for free admission. If you bought a physical ticket, simply show it at the gates.
We’re very glad we didn’t print “2017” on any of our new Arts on the Fly merchandise. It will still be hip as f next summer, we promise.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and happy.
Brandon Hoffman is the Artistic Director, Arts on the Fly Festival Society