Weekend concert will raise funds for Esquimalt Lantern Festival

Festival organizers test-driving new fundraising idea

Keelin Roland-Taylor shows off her lantern in advance of last year's Esquimalt Lantern Festival. This weekend

Jen Yarnell has twinkling lights and whimsical lanterns on the brain, though there are several months to go before the Esquimalt Lantern Festival.

Organizers of the free outdoor event, held every September, have become creative with their fundraising approach this year, branching out from applying for grants and knocking on doors for donations.

Saturday (June 2) marks the inaugural Esquimalt Lantern Festival Fundraising Concert, which, if successful, may become an annual affair. Performers include the Scotty Hills Trio, Weak Patrol and Planet Claire.

“We just thought it would be a lot of fun to showcase some of our local musicians who have been involved. And (it’s) a way for us to raise some funds towards the festival, because we’ve got rising costs,” Yarnell said.

The festival, which attracted about 2,000 people last year, will cost about $8,000 to produce for 2012. Expense include bringing in performers, setting up the stage, lighting and a sound system, as well as paying for permits and insurance.

The event is reliant on donations from businesses, pre-festival lantern-making workshops and grants from the Capital Regional District and the Township of Esquimalt.

“It’s just becoming increasingly hard (to pay for everything),” Yarnell said.

The timing of the fundraiser concert is ideal, given that Esquimalt council trimmed its annual community grant fund by 20 per cent this year. The organizing committee plans on asking council for a $4,000 grant. The CRD is contributing $1,500 this year.

The performers are donating their time and the Fraternal Order of Eagles is donating the use of its Esquimalt hall.

The concert goes from 8 p.m. to midnight, at the Eagles hall, 891 Esquimalt Rd. Tickets are by donation, though a minimum of $15 is recommended. They are available at Outshine Salon & Spa, Spiral Cafe and Esquimalt Plaza Dy Cleaning.

For details, visit the Esquimalt Lantern Festival on Facebook or go to esquimaltlanternfestival.wordpress.com.

emccracken@vicnews.com

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