When David Jordan, executive director of the Vancouver International Fringe Festival, opened his cheque from the B.C. Arts Council this year he saw that the annual festival’s funding had seen a staggering drop—from the usual $32,500 to $12,700.
Jordan told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview that despite the 60-percent cut in funding, his concern is not limited to the effects the provincial arts cuts will have on the fringe festival.
“What they [the government] are doing is a fundamental change to the way we deal with and treat the arts and culture in this province,” he said. “They are definitely being shortsighted”.
The fringe festival has an agreement with the B.C. gaming fund to receive $70,000 per year until the end of next year. Jordan is hopeful that money will come through, but worries about the future of the fringe fest.
“You’re not going to see a difference in how the fringe festival looks this year, and that’s the danger.” Jordan said. “The cuts they are making now are going to hit the year after next, and then nobody will be accountable for it anymore.”
Jordan said that the B.C. Liberal government doesn’t realize that it is “debilitating arts and culture” and ensuring a grave future for many organizations.
The annual fringe festival, set to take place September 8 to 19, will see hundreds of performers from more than 65 groups come through the city, and Jordan is worried what these cuts will do to these smaller organizations.
“We’re talking about a real ecosystem here,” Jordan said of the festival. “I think it’s important that I speak up for smaller theatre groups that participate in the fringe festival, because it’s all well and good for us to get funding from gaming, but if they don’t then they can’t participate in the festival.”