There will be no crowds this year, as in previous years, at the 39 Days of July events due to social distancing rules, but organizers want to put the acts online this summer. (File photo)

Duncan council request more information on grant request for 39 Days of July

More information needed for revamped festival this summer

Duncan’s city council wants more information from the Duncan-Cowichan Festival Society before it issues the society a grant-in-aid of $12,500 to go towards the annual 39 Days of July this year.

The city had already decided to provide the grant to the society before the COVID-19 pandemic, but due to the current rules around social distancing, the society is now unable to use the grant for the previously planned events, which included a Grande Parade and a Children’s Day on top of the usual music festival.

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The society has put together a new operational plan that would deliver the 39 Days of July in a live-streaming format from the Duncan Showroom, and hopes the city will decide to still issue it the grant.

A submission to the city from the society said the six cameras, professional audio equipment and more than seven years of livestreaming 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.

“Vancouver Island and North American wide audiences will tune in to our YouTube channel,” the society said.

“The festival will generate a lot of exposure for Duncan to potential visitors. We have added e-commerce capability to our website and have received a $2,500 loan to develop a digital marketing strategy that will target the viewers we need to reach to be successful. A tip jar will appear during each performance and encouragement given to those who wish to donate.”

The society said downtown Duncan needs to let the population know that it is open for business.

“The 39 Days of July is targeting 40,000 viewers to its YouTube channel,” the society said.

“We are engaged with the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area to cross promote our societies. More viewers should result in more donations to the 39 Days of July. More viewers will result in more potential shoppers seeing the ads and visiting downtown businesses.”

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The society had originally asked the city for $13,500 for the 39 Days of July this year, which included $3,850 for the Grande Parade, $3,400 for promotion and marketing, $3,200 for the Children’s Day and $3,000 for the Saturday evening tribute band, but council only agreed to a $12,500 grant.

Under the new operational plan, the society is looking for $6,000 for promotion and marketing, $4,500 for the live streaming of the performers and $2,000 for the Grande Parade.

While the Grande Parade would have to be cancelled during the event itself due to social-distancing rules, the society said in its submission that it could take place on the rescheduled Duncan Day, which the city may hold in September if the health authorities allow such an event to proceed at that time.

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Coun. Tom Duncan said at council’s meeting on June 1 that more information is required from the society before he is prepared to consider the grant request.

“I have no idea why $6,000 is needed for marketing and promotion or just how much it is to live stream videos,” he said.

“The society is also looking for $2,000 for a parade that may never even happen. There’s not enough information here to support any of this so I will have to vote against it until we receive more information on these costs.”

Coun. Garry Bruce and Coun. Jenni Capps agreed, saying they are in favour of the 39 Days of July proceeding, but would also like to see more information on the costs.

Council voted against the grant request at this time.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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