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Boots and Hearts gets $3M to support festival's return

Federal funding 'will assist in our ultimate goal of making sure we delight our loyal fans,' says Republic Live official
Fans take in the Boots and Hearts Music Festival in this file photo. | Kevin Lamb for BarrieToday

The federal government is kicking in cash to support the return of the Boots and Hearts Music Festival.

In a news release Wednesday, the feds announced the country music festival in Oro-Medonte will receive $3 million in repayable funding from the Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative.

Boots and Hearts, which takes place at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds, was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funding will allow Republic Live, which operates the festival, to host Boots and Hearts at its pre-COVID scale from Aug. 4 to 7. It will include “enhanced health and sanitization-related measures to deliver a safe festival environment,” the release from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) stated.

“Major festivals and tourist attractions, such as … Boots and Hearts Music Festival, are vital to the local economy, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to southern Ontario. Through the Major Festivals and Event Support Initiative, the Government of Canada is helping these organizations bounce back from the pandemic and drive local economic growth to the region,” said Helena Jaczek, minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

The funding was welcome news to Todd Jeneraux, executive vice-president of Republic Live.

“Needless to say, there have been unprecedented challenges in the festival business over the course of the pandemic and the world has changed significantly since our last edition of Boots and Hearts in 2019,” he said in the release.

“The funds provided under this program will assist in our ultimate goal of making sure we delight our loyal fans and enable us to provide time-of-your-life experiences again this summer.”