Winnipeg music and arts festival cancelled less than a week before its planned debut

A new music and arts festival that was scheduled to debut at The Forks this upcoming weekend in Winnipeg has been cancelled because of low ticket sales, organizers say.

Current Festival was scheduled for Aug. 12-14 at the CN Stage and Field. Full weekend passes started at $170 each for early bird pricing, with single-day passes ringing in at $100.

The announcement came this morning on Instagram, stating low ticket sales made the event no longer viable.

“Ticket sales for a new festival are crucial and we know that Winnipeg is a city of last-minute decision makers. We waited as long as we could to get an uptick in sales,” festival founder Monica Derksen said in the Instagram post.

Ticket holders have been advised via email that more details about refunds will be coming.

“We are committing to contacting you again on August 15th to provide an update if we haven’t begun the refund process by that point,” the email says.

The lineup included all local acts, including Begonia, The Bros Landreth, William Prince, Dirty Catfish Brass Band and Royal Canoe.

Event organizers described the festival as “the most Instagrammable festival Manitoba has ever seen,” with a heavy focus on aesthetics and luxurious decor. 

Derksen, who is the founder of Ethero Events, originally planned the festival for 2020, but the pandemic halted her plans.

Ethero has managed several Winnipeg events such as Table for 1200, Nuit Blanche and the Santa Claus Parade.

One of the features of Current Festival was supposed to be a culinary experience curated by chef Ben Kramer.

“Trying to create something new is always a brave and bold thing, but it comes with a risk. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t,” Kramer said in an email to CBC News.

CBC reached out to organizers, vendors and artists, who all declined to comment.

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