Short on both funds and manpower, Windscape Kite Festival hosted an emergency meeting last night. 

The organization behind both the Kite Festival and the Long Day’s Night Music Festival are facing serious deficits in both helping hands and sponsorship, warranting an open-invitation meeting to discuss the future of the events. Financial challenges arise from the festivals' umbrella organization, which also owned the recently folded Blenders Music. 

People gathered last night at the Swift Current Museum to consider the best course of action, with hopes to rally together. The emergency meeting had quite the draw, with around 70 people attending in person, and 39 engaged online.  

Shann Gowan, the main proponent of this meeting, helped start the Long Day's Night Music Festival in the summer of 2003, paving the way for the SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival to begin in 2005. She has also held the titles of Festival Coordinator and Executive Director for several years. 

Shann Gowan, a creator of Blenders and Windscape. (Photo by Alex Kozroski)Shann Gowan, a creator of Blenders and Windscape. (Photo by Alex Kozroski)

“We cancelled the Blenders series to stop the bleeding,” explained Gowan. “You need them to attend, and it just put us in a very vulnerable place... It put us in a place where we had to terminate our executive director and put our only person down to hourly wage just because we ran out of money.” 

A deficit of $101,000 exists for next year's festival, primarily due to a lack of sponsorships. With the recently dissolved Blenders often making half of the organization's funds, the money isn’t as easily acquired anymore.  

The urgency to continue this year, rather than reorganize for a strong return in 2025 was a recurring question at the meeting. 

“I think that if you pause for a year, you run the risk of losing some major funding,” stated Gowan. “You run the risk of an audience finding something else to do on that weekend, you run a risk of your volunteers finding something else to do on that weekend. Your sponsors find someplace else to set their money for that year... That's why I'm pushing as hard as I am with the timelines that I have.” 

Beyond financial factors, the organization has an immense need for manpower. Information on the handouts at the meeting relayed that there must be 36 committee members and seven board members gathered by this Friday, or the responsibility would be overbearing.  

The termination of Executive Director Amanda Girardin happened within the past month. Eight new volunteer committees introduced at the meeting come from the inability to have anyone working full time at logistics, as Girardin had this past year.  

“I have a transmission board of three people, and they're tired, and to be totally truthfully honest, they’d all quit, except for my husband,” admitted Gowan. “I asked them to come back so that we could try to take a minute and get this up and running, so they've been there. We've been working on this behind the scenes for about a month now and they need to be done, they need to hand the torch to somebody else.” 

The timeline for the $101,000 goal is also going to be relatively brief, as sponsorships and donations must create the healthy sum by the beginning of March. If the manpower and funding needs are not met by their respective deadlines, it could result in the end of the festivals. The Long Day’s Night Music Festival has been running for over 20 years, and Windscape has the chance to reach that benchmark this year. 

Those who wish to help by volunteering or donating can do so here

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