Tourism minister delivers more funding to Quebec festivals

Festival season is kicking off with a bit of good news for some of Quebec's organizers as the province's tourism ministry has announced more funding for dozens of events and more to come for others.

40 festivals to receive more money from government this year

The Montreal International Jazz Festival has become a major industry for the city. (Jean Francois Le Blanc/Canadian Press)

Festival season is kicking off with a bit of good news for some of Quebec's organizations as the province's tourism ministry has announced more funding for dozens of events and more to come for others.

The Major International Events Network, known by its french acronym RÉMI, welcomed a decision by Quebec Tourism Minister Julie Boulet to increase subsidies for 40 out of the 121 events the ministry funds, about 12 of which are part of the network. 

Boulet, speaking at a RÉMI event Sunday, said changes coming to the tourism ministry's funding structure meant more festivals may soon be able to benefit from grants, including smaller events.

Quebec Tourism Minister Julie Boulet said 40 festivals would receive more subsidies this year. (Radio-Canada)

RÉMI, which represents nearly 30 events, including the internationally-renowned Montreal Jazz Festival and the Rogers Cup, has been calling for more funding on the grounds that festivals like theirs add value to Quebec's economy and tourism industry, on top of culture.

That call has grown louder in recent years since a decision by the  former Harper government has meant that federal funding for festivals has been frozen at 2012 levels.

"We have to have events that are year after year interesting for people all over the world," said Louise Beaudoin, president of RÉMI's board of directors and former PQ MNA.

Festivals are part of Quebec's identity, said Louise Beaudoin, president of the RÉMI board of directors. (Radio-Canada)

For Beaudouin, that means recognizing festivals as "part of our identify" in the province and should be funded accordingly. She added that the tide of arts funding is beginning to change with the current federal heritage minister Mélanie Joly.

Boulet said more details on the tourism ministry's funding changes for festivals would be announced in the fall.

With files from Radio-Canada