BC Government says Fringe Festival is not a festival

The Orwellian doublespeak that bureaucracies lean on to justify their unjustifiable decisions, while sadly familiar, never fails to impress me with its stunning disconnect from reality. This is an excerpt from the Vancouver Fringe Festival’s latest mailout, detailing a not-unexpected but still infuriating decision by the supposed arts promoters at the BC Gaming Commission.

Q: When is a festival not a festival?

A: When they apply for funding from BC Gaming. It’s come to this. There’s nothing left to do but joke, because the government’s Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch continues a relentless assault on arts and culture. According to a conversation MLA Spencer Herbert recently had with Gaming, professional arts festivals will not be eligible for the new sub category of Fairs, Festivals, and Museums. As you know, if you have been following our discussion about these changes taking place in our society, we had expected as much. Nevertheless, it is shocking to have the worst case scenario confirmed. For the Fringe, we will see this massive loss of $70,000 after next year’s Festival because we have a current agreement with Gaming. But for others, this change will have immediate impact. We’re not sure what Gaming and the government think a festival might be… Ideas?

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