CEDC and Tourism Thunder Bay Invest $50k in Wake the Giant Festival

The stage at the Wake the Giant Music Festival
The stage at the Wake the Giant Music Festival

Thunder Bay – News – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and Tourism Thunder Bay are pleased to provide $50,000 in funding support for the 2021 Wake the Giant Music Festival. While the release of the funding remains subject to post-event reporting requirements, all parties look forward to the  success of the event, its crucial cultural significance, and the return to live music in the City.

The event is scheduled to occur from September 16th to September the 18th and will culminate in a one-day music festival hosting artists such as: Jessie Reyez, Loud Luxury, Third Eye Blind, Iskwe, DJ Shub, together with Northern Cree, William Prince, and Nick Sherman.

The one-day music festival is preceded by two days of orientation for Indigenous high school students traveling to Thunder Bay from 24 of Northwestern Ontario’s remote First Nations communities.

These orientation efforts will welcome students into Thunder Bay and help to familiarize them with amenities, transportation routes, and elements of the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School’s programming. In 2019, the music festival ran its inaugural year and attracted artists such as Metric, July Talk, Crown Lands, and Coleman Hell. While the event was shuttered by the pandemic in 2020, it appears to be growing and headed toward future expansion.

“Live music is just what the world needs this fall. Wake the Giant Music Fest will revive the music scene and give people an experience where they can make memories and reconnect with their community. It will be filled with culture and good vibes” says Wake the Giant Organizer, Sean Spenrath.

“Wake The Giant continues to grow in size and scope each year and thanks to the amazing support from the CEDC and Tourism Thunder Bay through the CEDC Municipal Accommodation Tax Funding Program this year is no exception. With Thousands of people from across Ontario attending this event, we expect this will be a welcomed post-pandemic boost to the local economy.”

The CEDC MAT Fund provides financial support to projects with the capacity to attract more visitors to Thunder Bay, increase visitor spending, and generate room nights at local accommodations. The CEDC MAT is collected on short-term stays at local hotels, motels, and other accommodation providers at the rate of 4%. The CEDC and Tourism Thunder Bay administer 50% of the total collected tax revenues in support of the continued growth of tourism focused events and products.

“Wake the Giant is an important cultural event to our community, promoting inclusion and Indigenous culture.  This year’s event is anticipated to attract several thousand new and returning local and regional students connecting the community and attracting attendees from other parts of Canada as well.  The event signals the return of live music performances following Covid safety protocols and contributes positively to the cultural diversity of our community.” says Paul Pepe, Manager of Tourism Thunder Bay.

Wake the Giant is community driven, and is at the forefront of a movement that aims to create a more inclusive Thunder Bay, while welcoming hundreds of Indigenous youth to Thunder Bay. It brings culture, music, and festival fans together, all while promoting Indigenous artists. Wake the Giant Music Festival is expected to be the first major event held in-person in Thunder Bay in 2021 and will be hosted in accordance with all local and provincial public health guidelines.

Wake the Giant Music Festival will also include celebrity appearances, a live art installation, cultural performances, an Indigenous Craft Market, and local food vendors.


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