Local festivals are going to get a shot in the arm courtesy of a new federal funding program.

Under the Marquee Tourism Events Program, $100 million will be invested over two years to marquee tourism events to help stimulate tourism around the country.

For Edmonton festivals, this means a little help during the rocky economic times.

“We’re pleased that the arts are getting a little support from the feds,” said Richard Stuart, administrator for Edmonton Folk Music Festival. “It’s appreciated because often (the arts) get overlooked.”

Stuart said while the folk fest, which has sold out 14 out of the last 15 years, gets by without financial worry due to the efforts of volunteering, the money would go a long way to stabilizing ticket prices and helping promote local talent.

“We are in a lucky position (in) that we have great loyalty from the community,” he said. “It’s about bringing world class talent, but keeping it accessible.”

Jack Little, executive director of the Heritage Festival, said that while his three-day summer festival has never relied on federal aid, it will help in bringing in out-of-town visitors, something they’ve had trouble with in the past.

The festival funding program will be given out in two tiers: The first-tier money goes to festivals with overall attendance of at least 250,000 visitors; The second tier is intended for smaller events with a minimum overall attendance of 50,000.

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