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Summertime Blues festival getting some provincial cash

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The Ontario government is giving the Summertimes Blues festival in Owen Sound more than $65,000, while music festivals in Hanover and Paisley are getting about $12,000 and $2,500 respectively.

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The $80,000 announcement Tuesday came in a news release from Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker.

The money comes from the Celebrate Ontario program, which supports festivals and events “to reach new audiences, improve the programs for visitors, benefit local economies and create new jobs,” the release says.

“According to past recipients, every dollar invested through Celebrate Ontario results in almost $21 in visitor spending,” and tourism is a growing industry, the release says.

Last year, promoter Richard Sharpe pulled the plug on Summertime Blues, after trying to move it from its outdoor venue at Kelso Beach Park to inside the Harry Lumley-Bayshore Community Centre, in partnership with the Owen Sound Attack hockey club.

“Terrible” ticket sales prompted Sharpe to cancel the two-day event, according to Attack business manager Ray McKelvie last year. The Summertime Blues website says “See you in 2019” but there’s no line-up posted.

Walker’s news release said Summertime Blues will take place July 12 and 13.

Hanover Sights and Sounds Festival, July 25-28, will receive $12,093, and Paisley Blues Festival gets $2,597.

The release said “Ontario is investing over $13 million in over 250 festivals and events in communities across the province, plus another $4 million in additional funding for blockbuster events.”

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