The first cancellation of the Festival western de Saint-Tite in more than 50 years will have important consequences on the economy of the municipality of fewer than 4,000 inhabitants and on the cowboys, whose season is in the water.
Even if there was still a glimmer of hope, the citizens of Saint-Tite did not have too many illusions about the holding of a festival in September.
Still, the confirmation announced on Wednesday has caused a stir, especially among the cowboys.
“I have 36 years old, and it’s been 36 years that I go there. Because before even getting to the competition, it is my father who was, ” says the rider Anne Lottinville.
For the resident of Saint-Pie, in Montérégie, as for the others, there will be no season of competition this summer.
It was also a shock to the cowboy Saint-Tite Timothy Brunelle.
“We train all winter to be ready for the season which starts again in the spring. No festival, it’s flat, ” said the editor of the bulls for 24 years.
More than half a million people normally stop in St-Tite in September, resulting in overall economic benefit of $ 45 million, according to the festival.
“At the economic level, sincerely, it will hurt, and very badly to share it,” says mayor Amy Pronovost.
Traders always open during the pandemic, know that there will be consequences.
House M. Bussiere“>
House M. Buissiere
“This is a big share of the market that we just lost a kick-sec We might be able to take it again the next year, but for now, it is a blow,” says Luke Fraser, owner of the House, Mr. Bussiere, who sells items such as shoes and boots of cowboys.
Beyond the cowboys and the businesses that écopent, the Festival western de Saint-Tite allows normally thirty organizations get tens of thousands of dollars, such as the united way and the Séjournelle, who comes to the aid of women in difficulty.
“This is a decision that is hard to take. One is aware of the impact “, underlines the director general of the festival, Pascal Lafrenière.
The festival has also lost several hundreds of thousands of dollars that were already committed to publishing 2020. Fifteen permanent employees of the festival will be made up in June, for a progressive return in the fall.
The people who had bought their tickets will be contacted for a refund or an exchange.