Sarnia Bayfest On Indefinite Hiatus
February 26th, 2013
Summer is going to sound a bit different this year, as organizers of Sarnia’s award-winning music festival Rogers Bayfest announced an indefinite hiatus for the event , citing economic factors. The impact of the decision on the Sarnia area will be dramatic as reports say out-of-town Bayfest goers spent about $440,000 on accommodations during last year’s four-day festival and another $490,000 was believed to have been spent in local restaurants, bars and clubs by out-of-town music fans. Michele Stokley and her husband Jim started Bayfest 15 years ago. Over the years, the event attracted big-name acts, and contributed financially to a variety of charities. The event won the 2009 and 2011 Ontario Tourism Best Business/Event of the Year. A press release stated “It is not economically feasible to produce the festival because new sponsorship has remained relatively stagnant over the last few years but costs have increased: bands, staffing, security, insurance and overall production”. It further stated, “This isn’t “the end”; it’s an opportunity to refocus and re-invent”.