The Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival kicked off Monday despite coming close to shutting down due to a financial shortfall.

The festival is running at eight locations around the city with 11,000 children in 3,800 musical performances.

"We were so fortunate because private Calgarians came forward," said Mary Ross, the festival's executive director.

The cost of putting on the three-week festival is about $600,000 a year.

Ross says some music teachers and alumni have formed a committee to come up with fundraising ideas to address the festival's long-term financial problems.