#Toronto; #AnnualTorontoInternationalBuskerFest; #Epilepsy; #nonprofit
Toronto, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): Cancellation of the annual Toronto International BuskerFest that was scheduled to take place September 4 to 7, was announced by Epilepsy Toronto, the organizers of the event, media reports said.
Observation of the 21st annual International BuskerFest for Epilepsy by Torontonians this Labour Day weekend would not take place this year.
Toronto International BuskerFest. Image credit: Website
BuskerFest, is not only one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America, it also raises awareness for Epilepsy Toronto, an organization dedicated to supporting people with epilepsy for over 60 years.
A non-profit organization, Epilepsy Toronto, which relies on major fundraising events like BuskerFest has been hit hard due to the cancellation of this owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
A report released by the Charities Aid Foundation of America based on a survey of 125 non-profits worldwide said that 63.48 percent of the responding organizations are in a “dire predicament”. It was foreseen by 1 in 3 responding organizations that they will be forced to close down within the next 12 month period, and 31.88 percent were unable to determine how long they can persevere under the current conditions.
“What many spectators don't realize is that this world class festival not only supports Epilepsy Toronto, but that it is actually organized and by us and is our largest fundraising event of the year,” says Geoff Bobb, the Executive Director of Epilepsy Toronto.
The pandemic has not only threatened the future of non-profits, but has also created significant challenges for street performers whose work depends on the summer months. Kyle Sipkens is a local Toronto street performer who has been performing at Toronto BuskerFest since 2012 as a roaming performer, statue artist, and juggler.
“One day everything stopped - emails, phone calls, everything. And then, one by one, contracts I booked like BuskerFest started to drop. I watched my entire year get wiped out,” explains Sipkens. “As a regular performer at BuskerFest, it’s been amazing to watch it grow over the years. The performers, volunteers and organizers who make the festival happen each year are like family. It was heartbreaking to hear that it would be cancelled this year.”
Epilepsy Toronto, in collaboration with Epilepsy Ontario, has launched a monthly 50/50 Lottery fundraiser to support epilepsy organizations across the province who are struggling during this time.