The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another community event in the Cariboo region.
Following in the footsteps of the Williams Lake Stampede and Billy Barker Days in Quesnel, the 17th annual ArtsWells Festival won’t be taking place this year.
It was slated to run from July 31st through August 3rd.
Julie Fowler is the Executive Director and Artistic Director with Island Mountain Arts, the non profit organization that runs the festival…
“Obviously there are a lot of festivals in the same boat right now and we’ve been in talks with a lot of them. In fact we’ve been meeting with festivals across the province as we all try to navigate this crisis, so we’ve been kid of preparing for it, but Doctor Bonnie Henry really made it clear on Saturday with her briefing that there would be no large events in BC this summer.”
Fowler says they thought about how they could hold it with social distancing in place, but in the end they felt that it would be too challenging…
“Certainly we wouldn’t be able to have buffet style food and that’s how we feed all of our volunteers and our artists, so we’d have to come up with a new plan. With the toilets you’d have to look at sanitizing after every use. Social distancing when you start thinking about it at a festival is like, how the heck, like you’re all gathered in front of a stage.”
Fowler says those who bought tickets will be given the option of getting a full refund, making a donation, or donating all of their ticket money…
“One of the challenges for festivals is you work on it all year round and you’ve got staff and contractors and deposits out to artists and things like that so there is a lot that you’ve kind of already spent.”
Fowler says they will be back next year.