Edmonton’s first crack at an overnight festival worked so well, organizers are back at City Hall looking to make Nuit Blanche bigger and better. But also more costly.
The 2015 edition attracted 53,000 event goers said Todd Janes, the chair and president of Edmonton’s Nuit Blanche Society. “When they’re not usually downtown and they were able to have a full night experience for free. And I think when we want to look at the city we want to build, part of that is to ensure that there are accessible, high quality events for all Edmontonians.”
This time around they’re looking at a fifty-percent increase in attendance to upwards of 75,000, which means a budget from the city of $335,000. Janes said they’re also gaining some traction with corporate sponsors.
“I think they get it. I think they understand what it means to build a community and to ensure they can bring the brightest and the best of their own people here too. They’ve been very willing and excited to have conversations with Nuit Blanche so we’re excited by that too,”
“Our city is changing dramatically and as excited as we were for the world track and field competition a number of years ago, people are now getting excited about contemporary art events in the same way and I think that speaks to a maturity and a diversity of our city. We’re a very different city than we were ten years ago, we’re a very different city than we were even five years ago.”
Coun. Ben Henderson is hoping city council can come up with a new funding model for one off festivals like this that can’t start small, but on a large enough scale that they can make an impression with the public.
“They have to start at a certain scale,” Henderson told reporters. “Do we want them? I would argue we had an awful lot of people coming out with their feet saying, yeah, this is important for our city to have. So we need to find a way of doing them. The same would be true of the larger sporting events. They’re never going to be able to start small and build.”
The target is to stage the 2017 edition of Nuit Blanche, downtown on the final weekend of September that year.
Council will make its decision for the 2017 budget, later this year.