The Board of Directors of the Home County Folk League (HCFL), the Canadian charity that operates the Home County Music & Art Festival in London has cancelled next year’s festival and says it’s assessing the ongoing viability of the festival and the organization.
The decision was made during the Folk League’s annual strategic planning process, it said in a news release issued on Thursday morning.
Home County, like many organizations, has faced increased costs, challenges attracting enough volunteers, and reduced access to funding since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said.
“We know this cancellation is going to be met with great sadness for all the passionate Home County fans. As a Board, we had to set aside personal feelings and recognize our current financial situation and difficulties in recruiting and retaining volunteers would make holding the festival irresponsible,” said Sara
Lanthier, Chair of the HCFL.
“This was not a decision made lightly.”
Home County was founded in 1974, and its three-day, admission-by-donation festival features Canadian roots, traditional, and indie folk/pop acts as well as juried arts vendors, an array of regional food and beverages, and community partners.
The founding organizers came up with the name H.O.M.E. County as an acronym for Huron, Oxford, Middlesex, Elgin — the four counties in southwestern Ontario covering and surrounding London.
The festival is put together each year by a board of directors, committee members and a team of 150-200 event
Funds to operate the annual festival and related events throughout the eyar are raised through vendors’ fees, public arts funding from local, provincial, and federal governments, festival merchandise sales, audience donations and corporate sponsorships.
“Our next step will be to present our members with the results from our comprehensive assessment at the annual general meeting in November,” Sara said.
“We’ll be sharing financial, organizational, and market factors along with recommendations developed during our strategic planning process. Once we have input from our membership, we’ll be in a position to determine next steps and plan for both the near- and long-term.”
Official notice of the AGM is being sent to members who are eligible to attend, and the results of that meeting will be posted on the Home County web site (HomeCounty.ca) and social media channels (Facebook,
Home County is the second Canadian festival to face cancellation and possible closure in the past year. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival board announced at the start of the year that it would cancel the 2023 event and put a motion before the membership at it’s AGM to dissolve the society.
An 11th-hour infusion of funding from the provincial government allowed the event to go ahead. However, the long-term fate of the beloved event on Jericho Beach remains up in the air.