With all the “1 of the top 100 Festivals Ontario” rah-rah we’re hearing about the Aurora Jazz+/- Festival it is worthwhile to investigate exactly who Festivals & Events Ontario is, and how festivals are included, or not, in their guide.
Under the heading of “goals and mission” we read on the organization’s website:
1. To be officially recognized voice for ALL festivals and events in the Province of Ontario through advocating and promoting their interests.
The rest can be read here:
So Festivals & Events Ontario’s mission is to be inclusive of all festivals and events in Ontario, how exactly are they going about that?
On page 5 of the April 2012-March 2013 edition of the Festivals and Events in Ontario guide it states :
“Festivals and events are selected for inclusion based on their tourism value”.
Interested in knowing more about the selection process I inquired with the organization and was directed to an Event Selection Criteria Overview document that is no longer available on their website.
We read that “Due to the large volume of festival and event listings submitted each year, not all festival/event submissions can be printed in the Festivals and Events n Ontario Guide.”
How exactly can Festivals & Events Ontario be a voice for “all festivals and events” if they can’t capture them in their guide?
It is stated in the Event Selection Criteria Overview document that a Selection Committee is formed to identify which festivals/events will be included in the guide, and that the following criteria overview is used as a “guideline”:
• Ability to attract visitors regionally, provincially and/or nationally
• Quality experience (cultural, heritage, enrichment)
• Annual Festival/Event
• Uniqueness of Festival/Event
• Size of Festival/Event (Budget & Attendance)
• The festival/event is a tourism draw for the community
So a submission needs to be made, and obviously the Aurora Jazz Festival applied.
Given that there are only 50 events and festivals listed for York and Durham regions and that the Jazz Festival is the only event/festival representative of Aurora in this guide, I don’t believe the guide is a reflection of all the great events and festivals put on in the town, the region or the province as a whole.
Membership requires a fee. Non-members are excluded.
I think this guide excludes consideration of several important events and festivals that as residents we enjoy annually thanks to the great work of volunteers.
B – c) Establish a province wide inventory of festivals.
How can that be accomplished when festivals and events are excluded ?
Until this organization truly reflects a much broader swath of the province’s festivals it is irrelevant which ones they chose to pick to be the top 100. Anyone attributing any worth to this selection process is breathing in their own fumes.
The only ones flaunting such as an accomplishment are the events that has been selected, which have obviously paid for the opportunity.
Is this supposed to make them a better event than ones that don’t? The whole thing is rather insulting.
A Festival and Event is successful in how it is received by the community. R.O.I. is visible and demonstrated.
Aurorans don’t need an organization blowing smoke up anyone’s asses to say otherwise, I doubt anyone else in the province does either.
Perhaps the whole “Top 100 Festivals” idea needs to be voted to the “Top 100 Unnecessary Awards Ever”.