OPINION: Bringing our communities together with festivals and events  


NDP MLA Richmond Queensborough


EVERY year, people around B.C. look forward to an array of festivals and events. From music festivals to sports tournaments to agricultural fairs, B.C.’s festival and events sector celebrates the diversity of people across our communities.

Our government understands that the tourism and events sector has been hit particularly hard over the past few years. To help, over the past three years, we have supported the tourism sector with over half a billion dollars in tourism support.

At the same time, we know that festivals and events continue to face many challenges – the loss of staff, volunteers, and attendees, increasing costs, supply chain shortages and other operational complexities. Our government is stepping up to support the tourism industry and ensure amazing events throughout our province can continue.

We’re providing $30 million to support B.C.’s fairs, festivals, and events as they recover from the pandemic. With as much as $250,000 available to each event, these grants will help to cover venue rentals, wages for workers, marketing, and other operational costs so that the events can be held.

Supporting the tourism sector also means supporting local economies. Events and festivals create jobs for people, both at the event itself and at the local businesses in the area. Additionally, people travel from both near and far to attend events. People will spend time and money in our communities, visiting restaurants, hotels and motels, campgrounds, and shops. It is not just the event that benefits; multiple industries can benefit from the festival and events sector.

For example, the Richmond Night Market is an important event in our community and is something I look forward to every year. People from across the Lower Mainland and province attend, supporting our local economy in Richmond. I am pleased that our government understands the need for a flourishing tourism sector; this funding will ensure B.C.’s festivals and events can continue and thrive in 2023 and 2024.

For this funding period, event organizers are asked to apply as soon as possible, and no later than March 3, 2023, for events that take place between April 1, 2023 and December 31, 2024. We’re going to continue to work closely with the industry to understand what’s working and get their input on what’s needed for a robust recovery.

These community events give us a chance to celebrate our communities and rekindle connections with our friends and neighbours. You might be gathering to honour a decades-old family tradition or starting a brand new one. I hope to see you out in our Richmond community, celebrating the variety our community has to offer.