WIMF 2016 cancelled

Artistic director Virginia Clark hopes to fundraise to bring back the indie music festival next year

Wolfe Island Music Festival attendees gathered in front of the main stage during the summer of 2014.
Wolfe Island Music Festival attendees gathered in front of the main stage during the summer of 2014.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
With heavy hearts, artistic director and local music powerhouse Virginia Clark and her team say they decided to cancel this summer’s Wolfe Island Music Festival (WIMF).
 
The festival will be cancelled temporarily for the coming summer as the WIMF team focuses on raising enough money to restore it to its full glory next year. 
 
The decision to cancel the festival was made public through a formal statement on their Facebook page on March 21.
 
This summer would have been the festival’s 18th year showcasing up-and coming bands and providing a venue for new indie musicians to make their festival debut. 
 
In a post on the WIMF Facebook page, Clark wrote that the festival was being cancelled because of “a financial hit due to a interruption in our ferry boat service last year and the overabundance of festivals in the area.”
 
In an interview with The Journal, Clark said it was a difficult decision. 
 
“I had some really dark moments when I was having hard time getting fundraising to happen,” she said. “I just decided it would be irresponsible to move on. We’re saving the festival by pausing.” 
 
Aside from her role as the artistic director, Clark is also the festival’s co-founder and coordinator. She said planning and executing the increasingly large event year after year has composed a majority of her adult life, which made the decision even harder.
 
The growing number of alternative music festivals since the festival began factored into the decision, according to Clark.
 
“The landscape of the festivals changed a lot, there are always new festivals popping up everywhere. When we started this kind of alternative music festival, that kind of lineup wasn’t out there 18 years ago,” she said. 
 
“We just have to rethink and regroup after taking the hit last summer. We just need to take a step back and re-evaluate, but it’s temporary.”
 
Clark says she and the rest of the WIMF team has been overwhelmed with a rush of support from fans of the festival, including those from the Queen’s community. 
 
“WIMF has had such a close tie with Queen’s,” Clark said. “CFRC and The Journal have been such a big part of it since the beginning. We’re always indebted to that community.” 
 

The Kingston music scene won’t be completely bare this summer. 
 
To fundraise for WIMF 2017, Clark said she and the rest of the WIMF team are arranging a concert series for the summer featuring some of Kingston’s local music gems.
 
By taking a step back and focusing on gaining back their momentum, the WIMF team hopes to maintain their focus on homegrown, accessible music. 
 
“We don’t want to be that festival that charges $300 ... to charge for a weekend of music. So that’s what we support — that accessibility of good music,” Clark said. 

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