Making Bowfest viable
To the Editor:
Spring time! Daffodils are poking up, worry if the wood pile is going to last reduces, we look ahead to our glorious Bowen summers and all they bring; BBQs, kayaking, dips in the ocean, visits with friends, the Dock Dance and ultimately Bowfest to crown it off. Your Bowfest committee has been listening hard and hearing the concerns around the proposed theme (Zombies - what were we thinking!) and hearing too the concern around the efforts of the board to make Bowfest financially sustainable.
We felt it might be important to reiterate why Bowfest occurs and what its purpose is. Basically, the mandate and mission statement declares that Bowfest is a community festival created to celebrate our community while raising money for local organizations.
Bowfest is a non-profit organization run completely by volunteers and as such depends on grants, sponsorships and monies raised at the gate to cover all expenses associated with the event.
Our intention is not to grow the festival but rather to grow the volunteer and charity involvement in order to develop sustainable relationships where volunteers and charities make longer term commitments to help the board make Bowfest possible perennially. While we greatly appreciate the support of the municipality and our sponsors and we realize many requests for support are received by them, it is a challenge every year for us to meet our financial goals. Given this we have to ensure any shortfalls are made up through gate sales and vendor fees and we need to rely on as much volunteer contributions as we can find. Revenues can then be fairly and equally distributed to island organizations that want to partner with us while also putting aside monies each year to build a reserve fund.
Lately a number of people in the community have been very vocal around a suggestion that one of our board members had made to ask the musicians to volunteer this year rather than getting paid. It came from the need to save costs but it elicited some strong reactions. We would like to say that at this point as a board we do not have a policy around paying the musicians. We need to examine our budget and explore this year’s possibilities before we make a decision as a board. Please be patient with us while we work through the issue.
As stewards of the festival our job is to make the festival viable, affordable and fun for all and most importantly meet the mandate. As any organization, this is no easy task and requires a great deal of time and attention to address the varying needs. We know there is much work ahead of us, but are excited about what we can achieve this year and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work responding to community feedback and addressing operational needs.
If you are part of a charity that would like to be involved in Bowfest or if you would like to volunteer, we are always looking for new enthusiasm and involvement to make our festival the best it can be.
We recently had our AGM and are delighted to have enthusiastic new board members join us, they are Noah Pryce-Jones, Tony Dominelli, Burle Konopa, Damien Bryan. They join last year’s members Pam Matthews, Ellen White and Yvonne McSkimming. Our thanks and appreciation go to retiring board members Sarah Haxby and Peter Courtenay.
Our website to keep abreast of all things Bowfest or to contact us is www.bowfest.org. Roll on summer!
The Bowfest board