MUSIC

Drake's OVO Fest Gets $300,000 From Taxpayers, Twitter Gets Angry

03/20/2014 10:51 EDT | Updated 03/20/2014 10:51 EDT

Although it might seem like he doesn't need the money to stage it, multi-millionaire rapper Drake's upcoming OVO Fest will receive a $300,000 grant from Ontario's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Global News reports the grant was awarded under the province's Celebrate Ontario program the provincial Ministry oversees. The program's grants are aimed to "enhance programs, activities and services that will lead to long-term improvements. This support helps grown tourism in the province by making it easier for festival and event organizers to offer new and improved experiences that will attract more tourists and increase visitor spending."

The upcoming OVO Fest, named for Drake's company October's Very Own, will take place Aug. 3-4 at Toronto's Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. While a complete lineup has yet to be confirmed, and the festival is famed for its surprise guests anyway, Drake previously announced that that fifth annual OVO will feature Outkast headlining Aug 3 and Drake headlining Aug 4. According to Ticketmaster two-day ticket passes range from $124.80 up to $347.50 while one-day tickets start at $66.50.

To put the grant's amount into perspective, the OVO fest dollar figure is on a level with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, the Just For Laughs comedy festival (JFL42) as well as the Stratford Festival. The major difference between those events and OVO Fest is the length, with OVO being a two-day affair at a concert venue while TIFF runs from Sept. 4-14 and the Rogers Cup runs from Aug. 2-10.

Meanwhile, other Toronto festivals received less grant money than OVO Fest, including the Royal Agricultural Fair ($297,000) and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival ($293,000). Other Ontario festivals such as the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival and the RBC Bluesfest also received $300,000.

The Beaches International Jazz Festival, which has been running 26 years and last year reached 500,000 people during its 10 day run, lost its Celebrate Ontario funding outright.

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Twitter Reacts To OVO Fest Taxpayer Funding

The east-end Toronto festival had received provincial funding for the past six years, and 680 News reports that the free festival will be reduced to a "bare minimum," reducing the 3-4 stages down to one.

"This is the largest jazz festival by far in the whole province," said Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue in a statement. "This festival generates $65 million into the Toronto economy and over $30 million of that right in the Beach area."

The 2013 Celebrate Ontario list shows OVO Fest receiving no funding. However, the NXNE at Yonge-Dundas Square concert last June featuring The National, Social Distortion and others playing free outdoor gigs received $350,000 while the Mumford and Sons "The Gentlemen of The Road" concert in Simcoe, Ontario last August received $200,000.

This isn't the first time Drake has seen an event associated with him receiving provincial funding. The Toronto Star reported last October Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) received a $500,000 grant to host the 2016 National Basketball Association All-Star game at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

The news came the same week the Toronto Raptors announced Drake would join the team as a "global ambassador." The position is unpaid but will see possible business relationships established between OVO and MLSE through OVO's clothing and music brand.

Drake is currently on tour in Britain, performing tonight in Birmingham before a three-night stand at London's O2 begins next Monday, March 24.

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