Funding The Festival

With 2020 season canceled, Festival board launches critical fundraising campaign

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

For the past 38 years, music lovers from around the region have marked early August on their entertainment calendars in anticipation of The Festival at Sandpoint. This year, owing to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the iconic two-week concert series at War Memorial Field has been canceled, but it still needs community support — now more than ever.

Ali Baranski, left, and Amy Bistline, right, in the Festival at Sandpoint office. Photo by Zach Hagadone.

Coinciding with what would have been opening night on Thursday, Aug. 6, the nonprofit board announced the launch of Save our Festival: The Festival at Sandpoint Critical Relief Fundraising Campaign, intended as a lifeline to keep the organization going through these historic tough times and help ensure both its return for a 2021 concert season and sustain the many music education programs it supports throughout the year.

“Regrettably we have reached a point where, in order for The Festival at Sandpoint to continue bringing a concert series and programs to the community of Sandpoint we need support from our community,” the board wrote in a news release.

The virtual fundraising campaign invites donors to create teams and fundraise on behalf of The Festival.

To participate in the fundraising effort, go to and click the “Save Our Festival — Critical Relief Fund” button. There, you can sign up as an individual fundraiser, join a team or create a team. 

Fundraising teams — “whether you’re a group of one or 100,” according to the website — can select specific categories with unique missions and goals. One category supports expanding The Festival’s operations and programs through digital platforms, while another is aimed at sustaining and adapting regional scholarships, camps and other programs. Yet another specifically targets raising funds needed to book performers, while another supports the organization as a whole. Goals range from $1,000 to $25,000.

Participants can sign on to support a specific fundraiser or team, with contributions logged on the site and teams’ progress tracked in real-time.

Direct donations in any amount are accepted on the site, and other support options include philanthropic gifts and donating 2020 season passes and tickets. As of presstime, 26 season passes and 208 tickets had already been donated. To contribute passes, email your name and season pass number to [email protected]. 

While the novel coronavirus pandemic has upended lives and economies around the world, it has also shuttered many other longtime community events while putting musicians, nonprofits and concert producers in a tailspin. 

Yet, despite this “unprecedented crisis,” Festival board members reported that the organization “has already begun working towards booking for the 2021 season and thanks to operational cost cutting, volunteers donating their time, grant applications, penny pinching measures and donations from this fundraising campaign, we are confident we will have the money to weather this storm and continue to provide an iconic concert series in Sandpoint.”

The board stated: “Though many think of us as just a music festival, we are so much more. We are a nonprofit with a passion for cultivating a dynamic and vibrant community for everyone to enjoy.”  

For more info on the various ways to contribute to The Festival at Sandpoint, visit

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