Tough decisions ahead for festival budget 

click to enlarge RAINBOW WARRIOR Dean Nelson of WInterPRiDE marches in the first pride parade associated with Whistler's legendar gay ski week.
  • RAINBOW WARRIOR Dean Nelson of WInterPRiDE marches in the first pride parade associated with Whistler's legendar gay ski week.

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Here's a snapshot of some pitches to the FE&A Working Group:

Whistler Readers and Writers Festival

It has grown from a dozen people to a few hundred in its 11 years, attracting bigger authors and a more varied line-up of events with each successive anniversary.

Festival director and founder Stella Harvey has applied for funding again this year. Last year Harvey asked for $25,000 in FE&A per year for three years to help market the festival. Council awarded the festival $4,000 last year out of the test and development budget.

Harvey has asked for more in 2013 for the October event.

"Basically the request is to augment our festival by adding two new events, one on Thursday night and one Sunday afternoon in order to increase attendance, profile for the festival and the resort and of course, room nights during Whistler's shoulder season," she said.

The Whistler Intercultural Festival

Unlike the Writers Festival, the Whistler Intercultural Festival is just a nascent event, the brainchild of organizer William Roberts.

It too is in the running for funding this year. For a few years now the festival has transformed Main Street into a mini cultural expo, with food vendors and tents set up showcasing Whistler's cultural community. There are Filipino dancers and Japanese calligraphy and restaurateurs showing off Persian, Thai, Chinese food.

Roberts has asked again for $25,000 to help foster and grow the budding event at the end of June.

Last year Roberts got $5,000 from FE&A funding while the federal government kicked in more than $13,000.

The Spirit Within

The festival was awarded $35,000 in FE&A funding last year, its first year celebrating First Nations culture. Casey Vanden Heuvel of the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre has asked for the same again in 2013.

"This type of commitment from the RMOW allows us to meet criteria from Heritage Canada... so we can be pitching for a much larger sum," said Vanden Heuvel.

That sum is up to $250,000.

"(The Spirit Within festival) could be the largest in the province or potentially the country," he added.

"The RMOW is not alone in understanding the value of investing in cultural celebrations.

"The FE&A support last year allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to produce compelling and engaging cultural content."

It was done on a total budget of $75,000, including in-kind contributions from the centre and the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations.

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