2020 Regina Folk Fest cancelled
“What is really unique is the people involved in the RFF” – Regina Folk Festival director Josh Hauerud
By Jennifer Fuller, Contributor
Like many Regina summer events, the Regina Folk Festival has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. The RFF would have been celebrating its 51st year of operations this year, and would have taken place in early August, but this year the RFF community will have to get their summer music fix somewhere else. They’ll be missing the locally-focused festival that platforms Regina bands, but also tends to feature some larger out-of-town acts like Blue Rodeo, as well as family-friendly free daytime programming supported by a small army of volunteers and loyal fans.
“What is really unique is the people involved in the RFF,” said RFF Executive Director Josh Haugerud.
During this pandemic, many artists and venues have been struggling. The RFF is not an exception, but because of their strong community, they are finding lots of support. According to Haugerud, festival organizations have always been connected and worked collaboratively, but now they are really banding together to help one another and showing a united front when lobbying the government for funding.
Looking forward, the RFF hopes to put on its usual fall and winter programming – but all that depends on what restrictions will still be in place moving forward. Haugerud says the RFF’s goal is to “ still give an as-normal-as-possible music experience” to its patrons, while making sure there are online options available.
Outdoor drive-in concerts have also started up in Regina, which enforce social distancing while also giving attendees the ability to experience live music. When asked about that as an option for the RFF Haugerud said that they needed to do more research and that “we want people to be as comfortable as possible.”
But he is unsure how long it will take for people to feel comfortable going into large crowds again. Another key to moving forward with the festival will be funding. Both sponsorship and government funding might change due to the economic downturn and the RFF might have to “get creative with generating new revenue streams,” Haugerud said.
For people who want to support their local artists and venues outside of a festival setting, Haugerud offered a concrete suggestion.
“Try to buy music as much as you can,” he said.
Music-lovers can also buy merchandise, donate directly to the venues they love, and stream music from platforms that pay artists fairly.
While the RFF will not be able to hold their usual festival this August, they will not be silent either. Festival staff, volunteers and community members will be sharing six-song playlists on social media all summer long.
And during the weekend the RFF was originally scheduled, the festival will be organizing a “create your own festival” experience for people to enjoy in their own backyards.
When asked about creating your own killer summer playlist, Haugerud suggested looking to the Sask Music website to support Saskatchewan artists. Sask Music even has streaming options on the site to make listening to Saskatchewan artists as easy as possible. He also highlighted the value of including music from non-white musicians in your summer playlist to support #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackMusicMatters.