Rockin’ through winter the northern way

Prince George Folkfest Society

Eliza Doyle performs during Songs and Stories around the Firepit during Coldsnap 2020.

Coldsnap music festival warms up Northern B.C.

January 2020 - Since the launch of Northern Development’s Fabulous Festivals and Events program in Fall 2015, Prince George Folkfest Society has successfully applied to the grant program five times to support their annual music festival, Coldsnap – the Prince George winter music festival. Each year, approximately 3,000 people attend evening concerts and free workshops during the end of January.

“Coldsnap is an annual live music festival and community outreach series that takes place over nine days and nights each winter at various venues in Prince George,” explained Sue Judge, Artistic/Executive Director of Coldsnap. The evening concerts are always well-attended and frequently sellout. The interactive outreach events strive to bring music and art to segments of the community that are not included or have limited access to such events and engage youth in meaningful and creative ways.”

In their first application submitted to the Trust in 2015, Prince George Folkfest Society identified that it was their long-term goal to have enough funds to fairly compensate service providers (such as sound technicians and graphic designers), rather than heavily relying on in-kind donations of services each year.

These goals were partially realized during Coldsnap 2018, when, for the first time ever, the Prince George Folkfest Society was able to pay a technical producer for a three-month contract to handle the technical aspects of presenting the festival. Prior to this, all the work was done by a dedicated volunteer. Hiring a professional contractor benefits volunteers by providing them with festival-style and quality sound and lights production learning opportunities and experience.

“As organizers of a high-caliber, artistic annual event, Prince George Folkfest Society deeply appreciates the approximate 3,000 hours of volunteering done by 100 volunteers and the in-kind partnerships we have with businesses” said Judge. “At the same time, we know people’s skills are valuable and we’re grateful for grants, such as the one from Northern Development, that assist us to financially compensate certain key roles in the festival organisation, as well as fairly pay for other services."
Coldsnap is a unique cultural event that brightens the dark days of winter in B.C.’s north. The annual festival attracts musicians from around the world to Northern B.C. for memorable performances in a variety of genres. Beyond the concerts, Coldsnap is also a series of free workshops, making music accessible to everyone.

Since 2015, Northern Development has been supporting extraordinary festivals and events throughout central and northern B.C. to grow events that attract visitors and contribute to service sector revenues in the local economy. To date, the Trust has approved $20,000 in funding to Prince George Folkfest Society to help organizers deliver a quality event for both attendees, performers and the community.