Calgary Kiwanis Festival funding woes jeopardize future

The Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival says it is at risk of closing its doors after 83 years of music and speech performances.

Participation remains high, but officials say costs have escalated and funding has declined

A young participant performs at a past Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival. Organizers say the festival's future hangs in the balance as costs escalate and funding disappears. (CBC)

The Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival says it's at risk of closing its doors after 83 years of music and speech performances.

We cannot continue to bleed for much longer.- Executive director Mary Ross

Organizers say while participation remains high, costs have escalated and funding has declined.

“The Calgary Kiwanis Festival is one of North America’s largest amateur competitive festivals,” said executive director Mary Ross in a release.

”Despite strong enrolment, our expenses continue to exceed revenues year over year. We cannot continue to bleed for much longer.”

The festival has run a deficit for the past three years and needs $215,000 to break even this year.

The annual budget for the 12,000-participant that runs for three weeks is $600,000.

"A vibrant arts community relies on a diverse ecosystem of organizations and artists," said Calgary Arts Development president and CEO Patti Pon in a release.

"Fostering artistic excellence in our youth, as the Kiwanis Festival does, contributes to the overall health of Calgary's arts scene, and we encourage Calgary's arts champions to support the causes they believe in."

Kiwanis put out a news release this afternoon pleading for more donors.

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