Three Edmonton festivals looking for temporary locations after learning the their home base of Sir Winston Churchill Square will be closed this summer for renovations are planning to move their events to Calgary.
Organizers of the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, The Works Art and Design Festival and A Taste of Edmonton decided to relocate to Stampede City, even after the municipal government was willing to shell out nearly $400,000 to help with finding space.
The trouble is, there’s no one willing to give them any real estate to run their festivals locally.
“It’s frustrating!” said one board member of The Works. “We bring a lot of people and money downtown and while everyone seems to enjoy what we offer, there’s nobody in this town who wants us on any temporary space. It’s so typical of Edmonton’s NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard] attitude.”
One developer who was approached already by all three festivals turned them down flatly.
“I just wish these sissy festivals would just change their programming to suit the preferences of the average Edmontonian,” said the developer, who did not wish to be identified. “I mean, come on. Who gives a damn about visual art, and those gay performance artists? As for Taste of Edmonton, if everyone just offered burgers and ribs and had kegs of beer flowing, instead of those foo-foo food items, I would have allowed that.”
Meanwhile, Calgary is willing to embrace the arrival of these festivals, even though they already have similar events. However, amalgamating the talent into their festival itinerary will make for stronger attractions, commented one communications officer.
“Let’s face it, we all know it’s getting obvious that Edmonton’s festivals are beyond the understanding of the typical blue-collar folks up there and with Calgary having a lot more sophisticated people living here, it’s win-win for us,” said one flack.
“Edmonton’s loss is Calgary’s gain. I mean, what do you expect when you live in the Alberta capital where the only thing on their minds is an underperforming hockey team? Get a life, Edmonton!”