The City of Duncan has granted $12,500 for the 39 Days of July, which is going online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured is a play from Shakespeare that was performed in Charles Hoey Park during the festival last year. (File photo)

City of Duncan approves grant for 39 Days of July

The $12,500 grant was originally denied by council until more information was received

After receiving more information that was requested from the Duncan-Cowichan Festival Society regarding its plans for the 39 Days of July this year, Duncan’s council voted at its meeting on June 15 to issue the society a grant-in-aid of $12,500 to go towards the modified annual event.

At a meeting held earlier this month, council voted against granting the funding until further information was received from the society explaining some aspects of the planned expenses for the event this year, which the society plans to deliver in a live-streaming format from the Duncan Showroom due to the COVID-19 crisis.


In response, the society sent a budget break down to the city which indicates that the total budget for the event this year is approximately $100,000.

The budget includes more than $37,000 from donations and community fundraising, $19,000 from gaming revenues, $16,200 from sponsorships and ad revenue, $12,500 from the City of Duncan and the rest from various sources, including the Cowichan Valley Regional District and Tourism Cowichan.

More than $56,000 of the revenue is budgeted for the stages and other equipment needed for the live-streaming event in which the society hopes to reach approximately 40,000 viewers, about $20,000 will be spent on promotion, $18,000 is earmarked to pay for an artistic director and an operations manager, another $3,000 is for a parade, and $1,620 is for insurance.

A submission to the city from the society said the six cameras, professional audio equipment and more than seven years of live-streaming experience of the Duncan Showroom will differentiate the 39 Days of July this year from the over-saturated live-streaming market, and will fill a void in festival programming in the summer of 2020.


But Coun. Tom Duncan said on June 15 that he still has some serious concerns with the event this year.

He said the 39 Days of July typically collects more than 30 per cent of its revenue at its various venues around the community, but that’s not the case this year.

“It could be the death knell of this event if it fails this summer, so I think it should be put on hold this year,” Duncan said.

The motion to grant the aid money was passed, with Duncan opposed.

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