The board of directors of the Calgary Reggae Festival Society says it has “decided to postpone Calgary ReggaeFest for 2018” after staging the event for 14 years.
The society says the festival will return in 2019. Festival co-founder and producer Leo Cripps said in a news release the group plans to take the next year to “assess and re-imagine the event.”
“We did not decide this because of financial issues, but because it takes a lot of work, and after 14 years, we are reaching a burnout point,” said Cripps.
After lengthy conversations, the festival team decided to take a break and pause it for a year to “reinvigorate, re-imagine and rejuvenate the energy for the event.”
“Yes, we could stage it, but do we really want to force it and do a half (as good) event, or postpone it, take a break, come back, and give it our full energy again?” said Cripps.
He said the festival is a lot of work for volunteers and takes a year to prepare for.
“One festival is done and we start working on another. We are never out of it, we are never not working on ReggaeFest,” said Cripps.
Since the announcement was made Friday morning, Cripps has received several emails from supporters with words of encouragement and excitement for the 2019 festival.
“The reaction we are getting from postponing it this year is so positive that we couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said Cripps.
Some previous performers have emailed Cripps to share their understanding and excitement for an off-the-chart festival next year.
Some festival fans have asked if it is being postponed due to legalization and regulations around cannabis.
“For a lot of people, they think OK, it’s a reggae festival, I’m going to go there and get stoned,” said Cripps. “Well, it has never, ever been that way, and we’ve kept it that way for all these years.”
Cripps said in 2004, during the first reggae festival, the audience decided it would be smoke-free because it was a family event. He said organizers will be following whatever bylaws and regulations are established by the city.
“We were never worried about that (cannabis), because at the end of the day, we would just follow whatever bylaws were set out by the city, the same as regular smoking and alcohol,” said Cripps. “We follow whatever bylaws are set out by the province and city.”
In recent years, the three-day musical event has been held in August at Shaw Millennium Park.