A signature RMOW festival originally slated for September will not go forward until 2014, confirmed the municipality.
Last summer $25,000 was earmarked through Municipal Hall’s Festival, Events and Animation (FE&A) program to explore potential themes and concepts for a late summer festival that was planned for the weekend after RBC GranFondo Whistler.
“Other initiatives have emerged since the concept of a late summer festival was originated, including Ironman. Ironman is a major focus for the FE&A team and has financial and other resource implications (time, focus, management) particularly in its first year in Whistler,” said RMOW manager of communications Michele Comeau in an email. “The FE&A program continues to evolve each year and the team must take a measured approach and consider the various original programming, augmentation and animation opportunities each year, and the associated investments.”
Consultants Interplay Marketing out of Vancouver and Victoria’s Fan Tan Group submitted a joint bid to develop the festival and were hired by the RMOW in November. Comeau confirmed that the full $25,000 in RMI was spent and went towards concept development, program design, business planning and budget development.
Both Interplay and Fan Tan Group have experience producing events in the resort, like the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Crankworx and the FIS World Snowboard Championships.
A two-day design workshop for the festival was also conducted in January that was facilitated by the consultants and included over 20 attendees from various local stakeholders like Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Whistler Arts Council and others. Comeau said additional preliminary planning work for the signature event has also been completed.
“The FE&A Oversight Committee will determine the process and timelines for the development and delivery of a (late summer festival) as part of its overall recommendations for the program moving forward,” said Comeau, adding that the FE&A Working Group will review the consultants’ recommendations with the oversight committee as part of the 2014 programming slate.
While the annual festival would be a signature municipal event, the intention is that it would be produced by a third party.
A report to council is expected for the fall that would provide a review of the overall 2013 FE&A program as well as insights into plans for 2014.