To Community & Corporate Services March 3
The Burlington Sound of Music Festival (BSOMF) and Canada’s Largest Ribfest have applied to expand and enhance their respective events in 2015. All of the changes are supported by staff.
The BSOMF changes include a ticketed kick-off concert (free in the past), an additional entertainment pod at Brant & Maria, and holding the parade a week before the festival, on a Sunday, and changing the route to end at Nelson Park with a marching band field show.
Changes to Ribfest include starting a day earlier, on Thursday, and adding fireworks 2-15 minutes long at 11 pm each night, Thursday to Sunday. The fireworks display is contingent upon sponsorship which has not yet been secured.
BSOMF and Ribfest will be required to consult with residents, businesses and churches before making these changes to their festivals.
Staff are also recommending approval of a new event: Artfest, May 30-31, in downtown Burlington. Organizers are currently exploring the Old Lakeshore Road area for a road closure.
Artfest Ontario annually produces four art & craft festivals; three in Toronto’s historic Distillery District and one in Kingston on Canada Day weekend. The event organizer wants to relocate one of the Toronto shows permanently. Event organizers anticipate 125-150 juried exhibitors in the first year with the addition of some free arts programming for families. The Artfest event will welcome an estimated 5,000-10,000 people per day and be free of charge for the public to attend. Artfest organizers are working closely with staff, BDBA, Tourism Burlington and myself to find a location downtown.
In 2014, the city hosted 158 events. In order to streamline overall event approval, staff are recommending that council delegate to staff approval of all events meeting established criteria, following consultation with the affected stakeholders and ward councillor.
Staff are also seeking council’s help to develop a corporate strategy for festivals and events, inclusive of recreation, sport and culture services. A strategic visioning workshop with council, staff and community event organizers is targeted for the Fall of 2015.
These recommendations and the BSOMF/Ribfest changes are contained in a report that will be considered by the Community & Corporate Services Committee March 3, and Council March 23, 1pm, City Hall. You can read the report on the C&CS agenda, Item 10. To register as a delegation to speak to the item, visit: Register as a delegation