Nanaimo Fringe Festival organizers were in for an unwanted surprise Friday morning after discovering thousands of dollars in technical equipment was stolen less than a day before their first scheduled performance.
Artist managing producer Bryony Dixon says $7,000 worth of rented equipment, including speakers, lights and a mixer, was looted from a storage container parked next to the festival’s outdoor Gallery Row stage either Thursday night or early Friday morning.
“We locked it up around 6 p.m. (Thursday) and we got there at 10 a.m. (Friday), and the lock had been drilled and taken off and our technical equipment was removed,” Dixon told CHEK News.
Although the art festival has been around since 2011, Dixon explains this year was the first that organizers decided to use a container to store equipment.
“…We thought this was a great solution [to] driving the equipment off-site every day,” she said. “It’s just a real shame.”
The outdoor stage, located in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter, is just one of several venues where Fringe’s performances are held, meaning equipment from the Port Theatre or OV Arts Centre can be temporarily relocated to Gallery Row.
“We’ve managed to get some backup equipment for the weekend and we’re still trying to sort stuff for the rest of the time, but today we can go ahead,” Dixon said. “The show can go on.”
Festival presenter Pacific Coast Stage Co. is a registered charitable organization, meaning participating artists receive 100 per cent of ticket sales.
“So none of the ticket sale revenue can pay for any equipment,” Dixon explained.
It’s prompting the GoFundMe Save the Nanaimo Fringe Outdoor Venue to launch to raise $7,000 to help festival organizers recover from the unexpected monetary loss.
“Most importantly, this is a call to our treasured community to show up in support of our Fringe artists — and please be understanding of any technical difficulties that may arise at our outdoor stage as a result of the theft,” according to the fundraiser.
Dixon says RCMP are aware of the incident and notes that organizers appreciate every donation, whether big or small.
“Any support within your means,” she added. “With a big setback like this, it really is appreciated and we thank everyone for their donations so far.”
The Nanaimo Fringe Festival runs until Aug. 21.