The ever-changing economy in Canada orders its victims down with no mercy and the Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival is another victim.

For 11 years, the community has enjoyed the Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival (LEMF) every August. 

David Fritz, President of LEMF, recently discussed the reasons for the annual event’s cancellation.

“With the drop in the grant and it being very late to receive the money, it really wouldn’t have been feasible to put together. It came down to just the question of costs, like artist fees have doubled, insurance is way up, production has gone through the roof,” Fritz said.

The Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant, which was typically $15,000 was reduced to $10,000 contributing to the LEMF cancellation. Fritz said the family-friendly experience was enjoyed by people. 

“It was free, and for all ages. We try to keep it to family vibes. There is face painting, activities for the kids, a lot of vendors, and things like that for the families. Two stages of music, we have a beer garden, local artists, and vendors, and then we will sell our own merchandise as well,” he shared.

Costs are estimated to be about $48,000 for putting together the festival each year.

Fritz said another factor adding to the event dissolving for this year was due to the pandemic and bad weather in a previous year’s celebration. 

“We just didn’t have a great year last year either. It was our 10th anniversary then; unfortunately, it just rained all day. So we were hoping for maybe a medium size grant. . . We took a year off for that, so that didn’t help the fact, either. Now there is this,” Fritz shared.

The festival used to be a one-day event and would start at 11 a.m. and end at 11 p.m. It is estimated the turnout would be around 5,000  people throughout the event. 

Fritz said LEMF has been facing challenges with a not-so-ideal circumstance on location with hosting these events.

“There is one building there we can’t use; the toilets don’t work that great. The 3 Avenue restoration was great, but without seeing a Galt renovation to go along with it, it doesn’t really encourage people to get downtown. In the ideal world, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’,” he said.

The non-profit organization started hosting the festival back in 2012 with the exception of 2020 and now 2023. Fritz said there is hope for the festival to return next year. 

“We will keep doing our regular events. We have a full slot of stuff coming up for Pride month. We have a UK event coming up . . . May. 6, on the Saturday. So, there is always a chance to support us for sure,” said Fritz.

By Steffanie Costigan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 04, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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