I wish to take exception with your headline Musicians the heart of annual festival (Record, July 11).
I believe quite strongly this does a disservice to the thousands of local volunteers and sponsors who are truly the heart of this festival. Yes, the musicians are the show, the flash, but it is rare that the same musicians return year after year.
I would equate the musicians to the food that provides the fuel to the festival. The heart, backbone, structure and soul of the festival is the local community here in the Valley who have embraced and supported it.
To put it in perspective, 1,200 people donate on average 20 hours of their lives to this festival, which if conservatively valued at $12.50 an hour yields a contribution of $300,000 to Vancouver Island Music Festival.
If you consider the many volunteers who provide support in professional capacities, and who donate considerably more than 20 hours, this number goes up and maybe even a figure of $500,000 is more realistic.
All it takes is a look through the list of sponsors to realize there are very few out-of-town corporations contributing. The majority of sponsors are local businesses, municipal governments and even non-profits.
Yes — that’s right — local governments. The City of Courtenay, Town of Comox and Village of Cumberland are all there on the 2012 sponsor list. As for the Comox Valley Regional District, they spent almost $2 million upgrading the exhibition grounds, with the primary beneficiary being VIMF.
Without the support of our community, it would not matter who the festival could book to play; the festival would simply not be viable.
As a volunteer with the backstage crew, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers and local sponsors who made VIMF a reality this year.
Editor’s note: No disservice was intended. The editor values the contributions of local sponsors and volunteers. Like Mr. Gower, he is one of the many MusicFest volunteers.