The Haliburton Forest has announced it is discontinuing the Forest Festival.
In a media release, the Forest said it considered a number of things in making the decision.
“The most compelling is that the Forest Festival needs a stunning facility like Bone Lake to continue, meaning that its future viability without such a facility is very limited. Unfortunately, rebuilding Bone Lake will require great expense and effort, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The Bone Lake Amphitheatre was out of commission for the 2019 Forest Festival, moving all concerts to the Logging Musuem.
They added that Haliburton Forest itself is constantly changing. For example, they’ve taken over one major trail race, started others, “and have more in the pipeline. As a result, Haliburton Forest is unable to prioritize the costly rehabilitation of Bone Lake going forward.”
They added that while the Forest Festival has always received positive reviews, “this enthusiasm has not always been reflected in ticket sales.” They said big events are costly to organize and great talent is costly to book “so undersold shows have an impact on the bottom line.”
Despite the cancellation of the 13-year-old festival, they said Haliburton Forest will continue to host live music. Over the course of next summer, they plan on hosting four to six musical evenings at the Logging Museum. These events will be integrated with local food and drink, highlighting Haliburton County’s top musical talent as well as performers from afar.
“Additionally, the Forest is open to engaging in a discussion with any individual or organization that wishes to take over the Forest Festival,” they said.
They thanked dedicated volunteers, production crew, local media partners, businesses, and loyal fans who have supported the Festival over the years.