After much discussion the RMOW has approved $37,000 in public funding for the 2014 WinterPRIDE festival. However, the public funding comes too late for the festival organizers to arrange the premium headline entertainer that was hoped to perform during the 2014 event. The public funding was requested many months ago and was only recently approved by the RMOW. The $37,000 amount is also very small relative to the larger amounts of approximately $100,000 and $250,000 that are being provided to other annual events. The public funding comes from the Resort Municipality Initiative resources that are being provided by the province of British Columbia. The funds are provided to the RMOW and the RMOW decides how the funds will be allocated to which events. It is a very complicated situation where millions of dollars in public funds are available on a yearly basis to be divided unequally based upon the very controversial RMOW allocation policies.
“We did receive some funding from the RMOW however we are unable to fulfill the Festival’s obligations for receiving the funds. The timeline to secure talent was too tight with the US Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. We have requested to have the funds be used for 2015 so we can have a full year to properly engage an artist and have a much longer lead time in promoting the artist and the festival – better investment and use of funds in my opinion. We are just waiting for a decision from the oversight committee… ” Dean Nelson – Alpenglow Productions – January 2, 2014
The fact that the WinterPRIDE festival did not receive any public funding while other events such as IRONMAN, Tough Mudder and the World Ski and Snowboard Festival did receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funding was a source of much controversy in Whistler, BC, Canada in the past. Many people in Whistler resort could not figure out why one of the popular and longest running annual festivals was not receiving any public funding. Not even a token amount of public funding was provided which made the situation look somewhat surreal. Some local residents even went as far as to allege that it was a discriminatory action by the RMOW. The RMOW publicly stated that the reason why no funding at all was provided was because the WinterPRIDE festival dates are during the peak season of February so no resort augmentation was needed during that time. As a response to this, the WinterPRIDE festival organizers adjusted the event dates to start during January and continued to request a share of the public RMI funding being made available via the RMOW decision making process.
The WinterPRIDE Festival is one of the longest running annual events in Whistler, BC, Canada. It is very popular with the LGBT community which creates much economic activity in the resort each year. The Whistler Conference Centre and the snow covered slopes of Whistler Blackcomb resort are the two main venues for the colorful festival events.
The 2014 WinterPRIDE festival is set for January 26, 2014 to February 2, 2014. The entire festival event schedule and tickets are available online at www.gaywhistler.com