Curtain closes on Inter.Sect Music Festival

Inter.Sect Art and Music Festival organizer Levi Quartly promotes the second annual event at the 2022 High Prairie Gun and Sportsman Show.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The curtain has closed on a summer music festival held in High Prairie the past three years.

Inter.Sect Art and Music Festival, scheduled for June 27-30 at the High Prairie Elks Rodeo Grounds, has been cancelled due to rising costs and expenses.

“One of the major reasons is the coming increases in cost of production, especially the cost of fuel and inflation in the country,” says organizer Levi Quartly, who has roots in the High Prairie community and is the founder of Dropaganda Productions.

“We became skeptical of our attendees being able to realistically afford to travel such a distance to attend in significant numbers for us to be able to continue.

“People just don’t have the money to spend on good times like they used to.”

He is grateful for the support the past three years and remains optimistic about hosting future events.

“I extend my warmest gratitude to all those who attended and support the festival,” says Quartly, who cancelled the event in late April.

“I hope to be able to bring more events and activities to the area if and when I am able to do so again.”

However, that remains to be seen.

“We have our own recovery and restructuring to do before we can entertain returning,” Quartly says.

“Is it goodbye forever? I don’t want to believe so.”

Held in mid-August the first two years, the festival featured a variety of music and art activities for the whole family.

About 750 people attended the event last year and Quartly was hoping to reach 1,000 at the 2024 festival.

“Every year, we doubled our attendance from the previous year,” Quartly says.

“Even this year as we cancelled the event, we were flooded with disappointed but supportive messages.”

Other issues factored in the fate of the festival.

“Another reason is the rising costs to book performers who must also travel and thus demand more money,” Quartly says.

He notes that northern Alberta has become “over saturated” with major events during the summer.

“There are too many events too close together taking a piece of the pie,” Quartly says.

Inter.Sect is not the only art and music festival struggling to survive.

“Even culturally significant events in Edmonton are packing it in this year,” Quartly says.

“The economy and the Canadian entertainment industry in general are in a real recession and things are about to be hard all around.”

He was disappointed the festival did not attract more people from the High Prairie region.

“If we could have gotten, possibly three per cent of the population of the Town of High Prairie to attend the festival, we might have remained viable even through this tumultuous time,” Quartly says.

“I tried as as much as I could to advertise.

He realizes he did as much as he could to promote the festival and encourage local residents.

“I’ve tried, I’m not bitter about it,” Quartly says.

“If people decided that something isn’t for them or is not their thing, who am I to judge?

“There was not enough of a demand for what we were willing to offer.”

Yet, he hoped more of the younger generations in the region would have showed support.

“I truly wish more of the young folk and families would have taken a chance on us,” Quartly says.

“It’s not like the music couldn’t be heard from the rodeo grounds and we were sure to try to include as much of a spread of different types of music and activities for people to try in an attempt to provide a little bit of something for everybody.”

“We had far more attendance from people who were driving in from more than an hour away than we ever had from folks who had the festival right in their own back yard and that was undeniably disappointing,” he adds.

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