Forest Festival discontinued
By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton Forest Festival will be no more, according to organizers.
A release from organizers says the decision to cancel the 13-year-old event was a difficult one, and came following a number of considerations, a major one being the need to reconstruct the Bone Lake Amphitheatre.
“The most compelling is that the Forest Festival needs a stunning facility like Bone Lake to continue, meaning that its future viability without such a facility is very limited,” the release reads.
“Unfortunately, rebuilding Bone Lake will require great expense and effort, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Haliburton Forest itself is constantly changing. The operations team is increasingly passionate about outdoor adventure events: they have taken over one major trail race, started others, and have more in the pipeline. As a result, Haliburton Forest is unable to prioritize the costly rehabilitation of Bone Lake going forward.”
The release also indicates that ticket sales for the festival, traditionally held in mid-August each summer, have declined in recent years.
“Big events are costly to organize and great talent is costly to book so undersold shows have an impact on the bottom line,” the release reads. “To some extent, one can view the reduced attendance in a positive light, because it is due to an abundance of alternative events that have blossomed in central Ontario.”
Acts at the Forest Festival over the years have included Jim Cuddy, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sarah Harmer, Dan Hill, Lighthouse and a host of other talent.
The Forest will continue to host concerts at its Logging Museum, the release indicates.
“Finally, Haliburton Forest and Forest Festival management would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated volunteers, production crew, local media partners, businesses, and loyal fans who have so wholeheartedly supported the festival over the years,” it reads.
The festival was previously cancelled during the summer of 2016.