The board chair of Steinbach's Summer in the City festival has asked city council to increase its grant and to provide an office space for the six months leading up to the festival. Jon Sawatzky told council this week that they had a very successful festival this summer and extended it to a full three-day event for the first time. But he adds costs are also up and they lost about $13,000 dollars which had to be covered from reserve funds. Sawatzky says the city grant to the festival has been stuck at $50,000 since it began ten years ago and he asked city council to increase it to $70,000.
"The city has been a big supporter of this. They've been in since day one. But, that said, the grant hasn't grown over the last ten years. So obviously, with costs going up and inflation, we're just looking to kind of make sure we're staying on par with where we should be."
Festival events chair Graham Pollock notes costs have gone up a lot in the past decade.
"What you could buy ten years ago, in terms of entertainment and headliners and renting stage equipment, has now exponentially grown. So we're looking to mitigate and alleviate that cost and we're asking the city to step up a little bit."
Mayor Chris Goertzen says council will talk about this as part of its 2018 budget discussions.
"We hear that they want to continue to grow and we're really encouraged by that. At the same time, that brings about challenges, whether it's space, whether it's dollars and we look forward to talking about what we as a city council see as a priority for them moving forward. As we look at our budget this next year, we will determine whether we need to increase the dollars to Summer in the City or find them additional space."
Sawatzky also told council that Summer in the City is looking into becoming incorporated as a not for profit organization so that it can issue charitable receipts for donations.
Pollock notes the board is committed to making this one of the top events in the province.
"Our vision now for the board and, certainly for myself and the committee, is that we want to be the best festival now. Maybe we're not going to beat out Country Fest or the Folk Festival but, certainly, in terms of all the other rural festivals, we want to be the go-to festival. That's everybody's vision at this point so, in order to do that, we need to grow."