Cornwall Summer Beer Fest ‘desperately’ needed says organizer: report

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A summer beer festival in Cornwall will “tentatively continue” this year, despite the event being denied $25,000 in grants and in-kind services.

In a report to the city’s budget committee ahead of its Thursday meeting, organizer Sebastien Manigat told city staff the denial would “hinder” the type of event “the community desperately needs.”

Manigat still plans to forge ahead, even though the location – Lamoureux Park – is also tentative. The event moved to the park after its inception at Nav Center.

On Friday (Jan. 19), the city’s budget committee denied a $20,000 grant request and a $5,050 request for in-kind services for Beer Fest.

Some committee members felt it was setting a bad precedent of funding a for-profit event with municipal tax dollars.

According to its application, the Summer Beer Fest will cost $182,700 this year, which includes $15,000 in salaries for management and staff.

The application seems to suggest the $20,000 would have been used to book “top musical acts” like last year’s Juno award winning rapper, Classified, which “ate up a significant portion of our budget.” Some of the $20,000 grant would also be used for advertising, though Manigat does note that the “bulk” of funding for music and ads would come from the private sector.

The in-kind services include cleanup, electrical inspections, rental tables and chairs and contracted services.

The event, which was held on June 24 last year, was backed by several local businesses and an Ontario government grant but Manigat was not sure whether it would be eligible for government funding this year, the application states.

Thursday’s budget meeting starts at 9 a.m. at city hall.