Calgary ReggaeFest cancels 2018 festival, plans to return next year

Festival co-founder and producer Leo Cripps says the organization will "take the next year to assess and re-imagine the event."

Organization postpones what would have been 15th annual festival

Artist Aktivate kicks off ReggaeFest 2016 with a free concert at the Olympic Plaza in Calgary. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Calgary's annual summer ReggaeFest has been cancelled this year, but plans to return in 2019.

Festival co-founder and producer Leo Cripps says the organization will "take the next year to assess and re-imagine the event," according to a post published on the Calgary Reggaefest Facebook page

Cripps said the key word is that the event is being "postponed," not cancelled forever. 

"ReggaeFest is a 100 per cent volunteer organization," he said. "We've been debating this since August last year, what's our direction ... we just realized we're at that burnout stage. So we decided let's take a break, take some time off, rejuvenate ourselves, rejuvenate the event."

The news comes after years of financial hardship for the organization. 

In 2016, organizers slashed ticket prices and offered free passes after word got out that the event might have to be cancelled. 

Organizers that year were already questioning the future of the event, labelling 2015 a "horrible year" and "total loss" due in part to unco-operative weather.

Cripps said the organizers will be doing strategic planning, and re-imagining how the festival relates to Calgary.

Reggaefest organizer Leo Cripps said the festival is postponed to be re-imagined. (CBC)

"Our supporters are all still behind us, and we know our audience will still be there," he said.

The festival, usually held the third weekend in August, has brought artists from across Canada, Colombia, Ghana, the U.S. and Jamaica to Calgary for a weekend of Reggae beats.