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COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Saskatchewan's arts and entertainment industry

After two years of the pandemic ending and reopening, life appears to have returned to normal this summer, but organizers of events and festivals in Saskatchewan say attendance has not jumped as much as expected. I’m here.

Yvette Nolan, co-curator of Saskatchewan and Shakespeare, said, “Last year, after the pandemic started to end and the audiences came back, we all had one Shakespeare show and so many people attended. “But we weren’t recovering this year.”

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Other organizers in the prefecture feel the same way.

“Bouncing?” said Josh Haugeld, executive director of the Regina Folk Festival. “The way the festival operates in 2019 and now is day and night.”

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Haugerud said expenses have increased and some suppliers, including stage suppliers, have gone bankrupt. He says there are still many challenges that weren’t there before the pandemic.

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Discover Saskatoon believes the pandemic has changed the way the industry works forever.

Sarah Berger, director of marketing and communications for Discover Saskatoon, said: “The best-case scenario is a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.”

Berger said looking at the industry in Saskatchewan, it needs to focus on getting people back to work, hosting events in communities across the state and creating tourism experiences.

“As we rebuild the tourism industry in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, we need to adapt, and we need to rebuild the industry in a more sustainable way. We also understand that you want a place to experience, learn and grow.”

Berger said the industry needs to support local more than ever, leaving room for businesses to rebuild and hopefully creating a better economy overall.

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