Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



Hay Days festival won’t take place in 2022, organizers say

A photo published to the Hay Days Facebook page shows a scene from the 2018 festival
A photo published to the Hay Days Facebook page shows a scene from the 2018 festival.

Hay River’s Hay Days Festival won’t return until 2023, organizers said this week, in part because volunteers have been hard to come by.

The Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise, which coordinates the festival, said it had “seen a decrease in active membership” which it attributed in part to Covid-19 and “an ageing community demographic.”

The club said some important management committee roles remained vacant. Holding no festival this year would buy time to “actively recruit new membership,” the club stated in a news release.

“The management committee has unwavering pride and belief in this festival and the benefits brought to the community and region as a whole,” the news release stated, “and, with that in mind, wants to ensure the same diverse and high‐quality series of events for future celebrations.



“This gap year will prepare and bring all committee members up to speed with the organizational, financial and personnel requirements required for continued success in the future.”

Hay Days was cancelled because of Covid-19 in 2020 but returned in a series of events spread over 10 weeks – what organizers dubbed an “unwound” festival – in 2021.

The Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise said the festival now commands a budget of almost $200,000 and nearly 60 volunteers each year.

“The committee aims to make personal contact with all who have supported our previous festivals and assure them of our plans to continue fostering music, arts and culture leading up to 2023.,” the news release concluded.