MusicFest Vancouver directors hope to revive event after addressing cash-flow issues

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      The only full-time staff member has been laid off and contractors, including artistic director Matthew Baird, are not on the payroll. But that doesn't mean the end of MusicFest Vancouver, according to one board member.

      Sarah Sidhu, a director since 2007, told the Straight by phone that operations have been suspended because of a "cash-flow problem".

      "None of us want to see the festival cease at all," Sidhu emphasized. "We are working hard to make sure the festival will come back in some form. We just need time to do that. It wouldn't have been responsible for us as a board to proceed with the 2013 season, given our situation right now."

      The Vancouver Summer Festival Society puts on the festival, which has showcased classical, world, and jazz music for the past 12 years.

      The board announced earlier today that it has "suspended" the 2013 festival until it can address the financial issues.

      Sidhu, a lawyer, estimated the debt to be $150,000, but emphasized that this isn't precise because directors are still going through the accounts.

      When asked if there are receivables to offset this liability, she replied: "We're looking at all those possibilities now on how we're going to move forward....We're really looking at coming back with a healthy festival, but it's hard to do when we're faced with this situation."

      The Vancouver Summer Festival Society's 2011 return to Canada Revenue Agency revealed $101,831 in liabilities and a slight profit, with $1.31 million in revenue and $1.29 million in expenditures.

      Sidhu said that she has enjoyed the range of music at the festival over the years, which has included Sarah McLachlan performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 2011 and a tribute to George and Ira Gershwin in 2012.

      "We've had so many great concerts," she noted.

      Anyone wishing to donate to the society can do so here.

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      Nov 20, 2012 at 6:24pm

      Vancouver is dying city.. the population has changed a lot in the last decade , it's mostly boring, cheap people now..
      If people in vancouver have to pay $1 dollar for anything they just won't go
      RIP Vancouver. You irrelevant dying city


      Nov 21, 2012 at 11:16am

      Dear Tedwest:

      The only people I ever hear complaining about Vancouver are those people who don't buy tickets and go to events regularly. They claim there isn't much happening here, or people here won't go out, or that people here are too cheap, etc etc. And then the complaining becomes the dominant trope and people believe it.

      Vancouver is truly alive, ever-changing, and vibrant.

      But it's near impossible to sustain large scale festivals and other ongoing arts events in this funding climate: BC invests $6.50 per capita compared to the national average of $25. Good luck sustaining anything like MusicFest on such tiny investments.