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Ottawa Blues Fest Partners With Ottawa Folk Fest

OTTAWA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Ottawa Blues Fest has agreed to provide a loan to their neighbors at the Ottawa Folk Fest (OFF) to allow festival organizers to pay off existing creditors and keep the event on track for August 2011 and in the future.

"For 17 years the Ottawa Folk Festival has delivered a festival that is much-loved in the region, but which has struggled to achieve financial success," says OFF spokesperson, Bob Ledrew. "This arrangement puts us in a position—thanks to this loan—in which we can be bold in our approach to programming and to staging the event while we move forward. It gives us the ability to do things an organization can do when it’s in good financial shape rather than tenuous shape."

The OFF explored several options, meeting with representatives of the folk community, with the government agencies that provide funding, and with several sponsors to explore ways of putting the organization on a stronger financial footing for the future. Ledrew says none of these options came close to providing the support that this arrangement has to offer.

The OFF also announced that they are restructuring their board of directors, with four board members to be drawn from Ottawa Bluesfest's ranks and 3 members from Ottawa Folk Fest's board. Ottawa Bluesfest staff will provide expertise to OFF on a number of areas, including booking, accounting and operations.

While Mark Monohan declined to comment to CelebrityAccess on exactly how large the loan was, he characterized it as six figures. The Ottawa Citizen reported that the loan will help OFF double the $150,000-$200,000 now spends on artist bookings. Monohan also noted that there were no concrete terms regarding repayment of the loan.

"The folk fest had a tough year, with one of the three days being completely washed out. I've known and worked with them for years so I reached out to ask how bad the things were and offered to help." Bluesfest executive director Mark Monohan told CelebrityAccess. "A stronger festival community is good for everyone." – Ian Courtney