Elyssia Sasaki, the Executive Artistic Director for Island Mountain Arts, says a tremendous amount of planning is needed at the front end of an event like this, and unfortunately due to the pandemic, that just wasn’t possible this year.

“In a place like Wells, which is remote and has limited access to amenities, and at this point for this summer, unfortunately has been living in uncertainty too much in the last year to confirm an event of this scale.”

Sasaki says they are now looking forward to next year.

“It’s absolutely my hope to find ways to bring the community back together and to celebrate in a gathering similar to ArtsWells as we have in the past.   We’re in a position where we’ve got a lot of plans to think ahead to what it’s looking like, and to honour a lot of the work that has happened in the past, so I’m really optimistic about holding a gathering next summer.”

Sasaki says they’re still working out what that might look like, as there are a lot of unknowns looking ahead to 2022.

“I think at its core what we’re hoping to do is find a way to bring people together, find a way to have people appreciate art, find a way for artists to be appreciated by folks, and just really try to bring together a community that’s able to celebrate the beauty of summer days, and the beauty that is living in this area.”

One thing that could be different though is the camping portion of the event.

“With the changing of operations with the mine, very graciously they’ve offered us a space in the past. Whatever we do as we move forward we want to make sure we’re doing, with folks safety and comfort in mind, so again it’s still very up in the air as to what it could look like in the future.  I think it’s fair to say it could be scaled down, it could be changed in location, it could look a little different, but this is hopefully what this summer and extra planning session that we’ve been gifted, will look like, figuring out how comfortably we can fit friends here.”

While there won’t be a festival this year, Sasaki says Island Mountain Arts will be holding some programming this year if people are looking for something that is more scaled down.

She says those events will be announced in the coming weeks.