Two staples in Swift Current's summer events are in jeopardy, as Long Day's Night Music Festival and the Windscape Kite Festival are lacking support in funds and manpower.
Two days which fill the southwest skies with colourful kites of gargantuan proportions, and four nights of concerts with an array of artists of all genres, have defined the longest days of the year for many residents and visitors of Swift Current. However, without immediate action, the events could soon be history.
Keely Williams, the Festival assistant with Long Day's Night and Windscape Kite Festival, invites the public to a town hall forum which she helped organize.
“It's people not having enough extra money to spend on things like activities, and also businesses just not being able to donate services or sponsorship money to run the event,” stated Williams. “While most people think of Windscape and Long Day’s Night as a summer activity, they take a whole year to plan. We are right now trying to plan for next year's festival and we just do not have the support in manpower or cash right now to move forward.”
The organization behind these events put the call out on social media as well, looking for both help with volunteers and funds to aid the festivals’ continuance. New board members are also in high demand, as much of the board is looking to retire after over a decade of service. They ask people to attend their town hall, which is at the Swift Current Museum on November 27 at 6:30 p.m. with an online link for those who are unable to make it in person.
“We did an economic impact survey with the two festivals in 2017 and Tourism Saskatchewan, who was running it for us, found that the festival brings in $2.98 million every year,” explained Williams. “So that's people shopping at the local stores, going to restaurants, staying at the hotels and people that are coming back after the festival for other day trips and other events. It really brings a lot of people to town, we have over 11,000 attendees in a regular year, so it's a big event... It's an international event and we would like to be able to keep showcasing the art and sport and the multiculturalism of kiting because it's an important part of a lot of cultures around the world.”