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‘It affects all of us’: Harvest Music Festival loses thousands of dollars after Saturday cancellation

Organizers of the Harvest Music Festival are anticipating a five to six hundred thousand dollar loss after post-tropical storm Lee cancelled Saturday night events.

Festival organizers do not believe their event insurance will underwrite the cancellation due to Lee.

"It's a pretty massive hit financially for Harvest and we're still working through the full implications of it,” says Brent Staeben of Harvest Music Festival.

Not only is a loss to the festival, the business it brings is essential to the downtown core.

“The economic spinoff to downtown is somewhere between eight and ten million dollars,” said Bruce McCormack of Downtown Fredericton Inc.

“We have over 75-80 thousand people that come into our downtown that enjoy the services that we have plus what the festival provides,” he adds.

The festival was expecting 20 to 25 thousand people downtown on Saturday night, and the affects of cancelling due to the storm are widespread.

"You can go into any one of these bars that are open that have entertainment that they're providing then to have nobody show up, because of the torrential downpour and the winds,” said McCormack. “It affects all of us.”

"For the bars, pubs, restaurants, and hotels - for many this is the biggest night of their entire year so it's a real hit to them,” said Staeben. “I think it's a multi-million dollar hit to the regional economy.”

Downtown Fredericton Inc. says they're already working to find a way to bring more business to the downtown to make up for the loss.

As for Harvest Music Festival, they're taking what they've learned and are already booking 2024.

"I don't think it's going to change who we are and how we approach things,” Staeben said. “It may change how we write some contracts and stuff like that to better protect us now that we understand fully, and have lived through what the impact of this could be.”

None of Harvest's equipment or infrastructure was seriously damaged during the storm.

Harvest says they're working with Ticketpro to figure out refunds for people who did have tickets for Saturday's performance and they'll have more information on that in the next few days.

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