Under the Volcano erupts for the last time
After 20 years of arts and activism, the by-donation event is pulling up its roots
By Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun August 4, 2010 2:02 PM
As Woody Guthrie would have put it — to music, of course — so long, it’s been good to know you. The 20th annual Under the Volcano Festival will be the last of these unique events, which take Cates Park near Deep Cove and make it, for one day, a haven for those on the left of the political spectrum.
Meegan Maultsaid is not shedding any tears about the demise of UTV.
The practical-minded artistic director, who has worked with the festival for 15 years, says it’s been a good innings in the Dollarton woods where troubled writer Malcolm Lowry once squatted in a seaside cabin as he penned Under the Volcano.
“It’s a risky model for organizing,” Maultsaid says.
“For 20 years we’ve remained a non-corporate festival, by donation. We don’t have advance tickets or tickets with surcharges, we just have ‘by donation,’ which has been very important to us to maintain as an accessible community event.”
However, as all arts organizations are learning, there’s precious little public money unless groups meet strict provincial government guidelines of niceness and community conformity, not the sort of strictures to be placed on UTV.
“Our programming is a key tenet of what we do,” says Maultsaid.
“We want to bring in artists who haven’t played here, political artists from the underground, and that costs money but the revenue has hit a plateau.”
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