Bouncing back: Halifax events industry feeling optimistic about summer
HALIFAX -- The past year has been worst-case scenario for the Maritimes events industry, but as vaccination numbers increase and case numbers remain low, some event organizers are looking to this summer with cautious optimism.
“We were a $2-million tourism industry,” says Paul MacKinnon, CEO of Downtown Halifax.
Although uncertainty remains due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the executive producer of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo says the show will go on in 2021.
“There will be a Tattoo production in 2021, but I what I can’t tell you today is what exactly that will look like,” says Scott Long. “There are still some things we have to weigh.”
Long says the date and format will be announced within two weeks, and while a virtual event is a possibility, Long says a live event is always better.
Atlantic Canada’s largest sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention is also optimistic that they will be welcoming people back in October.
“We are hoping to have some kind of in-person event following public health guidelines,” says Floyd Blaikie, Hal-Con Director of Marketing.
While the Women’s World Hockey Championship plans to drop the puck in Halifax and Truro this May, question marks remain next to many other summer festivals, such as Halifax’s Buskers and Rib-Fest.
Heading into spring, the CEO of Downtown Halifax was fearful that the event calendar could be wiped clean for the second straight year.
“I think the general thought until really recently has been that there aren’t going to be any more events,” says Paul MacKinnon.
Now, he’s more optimistic, but says obstacles remain, including the COVID-19 liability waiver that is required by the city, which places all safety responsibility on event organizers.
“We need to get rid of that waiver,” says MacKinnon.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says he’ll examine the waiver.
“We want people to come here and feel the vibe,” says Savage. “I want us to invest in those things and help the industries that are getting pounded.”
He says he’s willing to inject public money to ensure major events are able to happen in 2021.