The Story of How Canada Fruit Fest came to be…
Written by Ted Carr, founder of the Canada Fruit Fest.
It was a dark and stormy night.
Yeah right! I go to bed early. I never even get to see stormy nights.
I was probably in the tropics with my shirt off eating dragon fruit when the idea first came to me.
“A fruit festival - in Canada!”
The idea filled me with so much excitement that I had to call a friend.
Ronnie and I spoke on the phone for a good 45 minutes where he convinced me that I could, and should, do it.
The next step was making an Instagram story post that said “Canada Fruit Fest?”
The 14 responses of “YES! OMG” gave me the validation I was looking for.
The next step was in securing the venue. (You can see a photo of it if u scroll all the way down.)
Securing the venue actually proved to be quite difficult because the Band office lady, bless her heart, would never pick up the phone, return our calls, or respond to any text or email messages we sent her.
But we kept at her, and eventually, the clouds parted, the stars aligned, and she responded.
She told me to come down and meet her in person to book the space.
So I hopped in my 4 wheeler, AKA ‘The Green Hornet’, and jetted up to the Okangan to meet with her.
It was a grand occasion. I made my deposit for the venue and we had a deal.
Next up was attracting the right kind of talent.
Big names like Jonny Juicer, Alyse, Rawvana, etc are actually really rare in the vegan and raw vegan community, but they’re super important in making sure your festival looks credible!
So I sent them some nice emails and text messages, got on the phone with each of them, and struck yet another deal.
Once we had some big names, we were ready to start promoting the festival.
Back on Instagram, we bought a ton of ads to get the word out to thousands of people across Canada who were into keywords such as ‘raw veganism’ ‘fruitarianism’ ‘freelee the banana girl’ etc.
Initially, our ads didn’t really do much besides cost us money.
But then Ronnie had a genius idea.
“Let’s give away a free ticket,” he said.
So we hosted a giveaway where people could leave their email in return for an entry to win a free ticket.
Then we bought a ton more ads to promote the giveaway.
Within days we had hundreds of entries.
Within a week we had thousands.
We started emailing everyone with info about our event.
And just days after that, we set a record for selling more tickets in a 24 hour period than any fruit festival in history on their opening day.
We thought, “wow, that was easy.”
So we took all that money we made from those initial sales, and put it into an amazing music line up.
We paid for bands like Bombargo & IMUR, and DJ’s like FRASE blessing our inboxes with emails that indicated they were IN!
Then we bought a bunch of big marquees (wedding tents) to provide shelter for our attendees.
Then we bought thousands and thousands of dollars worth of local, organic fruit - only the best - for our attendees.
Then we bought, and we bought, and we bought some more.
Decorations, stages, lights, amplifiers, extension cords, tables, chairs, you name it. We bought it.
We went way over budget on everything.
We didn’t track our spending… we just spent.
Then something beautiful happened.
We ran out of money! I looked at my mobile banking app and saw that I was in the negatives.
I say it’s beautiful because when you’re flat broke and about to host a big festival, you can really experience a kind of “letting go” beauty that only comes when you’ve given up everything up for what you love.
Then Aug 9th rolled around, and all our volunteers showed up at the venue, ready to help.
To this day, I am AMAZED at how awesome some people are. I will forever be thankful to all our 2018 volunteers - I love you all!
The following day was our grand opening day.
On Aug 10th, 2018 there was magic in the air. People were buzzing.
And at 12 noon, we cut the tape, and cars filled with attendees just kept rolling in.
People got out, waved hello to new friends, gave each other hugs, set up their tents, grabbed some fruit, and began to settle in to what would be an undeniably memorable 4 day experience.
By the time our opening ceremony kicked off, the entire Okanagan Lake was buzzing as the first ever Canada Fruit Fest kicked off into high gear.
… this story is to be continued. I g2g. Thanks for reading.
Hope to see you at there this summer, Aug 9-12th.