Tiny Lights Festival

Organization size: Small
Discipline: Community Festival
Ymir, British Columbia (2013-2014)

Partnership has B.C. town thinking big and winning big

Tiny Lights Festival and FortisBC Partnership Summary

The Tiny Lights Festival presents a diverse selection of cultural events, bringing the Ymir community together to celebrate performing and practical arts, as well as supporting the sustainability of the region. Tiny Lights partnered with FortisBC, a company focused on building energy infrastructure in British Columbia that delivers energy resources to more than 135 communities across the province.

The Tiny Lights Festival’s partnership with FortisBC was a win for both organizations. The festival was able to launch a Sustainability Village with a special bicycle and solar-powered stage that became a prime focus of their summer festival. The unique stage also allowed FortisBC to showcase alternative power products and services to festival audiences and patrons, who are primarily from Ymir and surrounding communities.

“By working together we are elevating each other’s businesses and helping to raise arts and economic awareness in our town.”

- Carla Stephenson, Executive Director

Tiny Lights Festival

The Tiny Lights Festival presents a diverse selection of cultural events, bringing the Ymir community together to celebrate performing and practical arts, as well as supporting the sustainability of the region. Their main focus is to engage, educate and enrich the community, from youth to seniors, through their programming.

By bringing music, art, theatre and dance to the Ymir community, Tiny Lights Festival strives to enhance the cultural and economic development within the region. The festival is unique in that they present emerging artists from across Canada in six intimate and historic venues, bringing the preservation of their town’s cultural history into the festival’s programming fold.


FortisBC builds energy infrastructure in British Columbia and delivers approximately 21 per cent of the total energy (electric, natural gas, and propane) consumed in B.C. to approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 communities.

FortisBC believes they have an important role to fill in the cities and towns they serve, and participate in supporting opportunities that help promote health, safety and the environment.



About the Partnership

The Tiny Lights Festival’s partnership with FortisBC was a win for both organizations.

By partnering with FortisBC, Tiny Lights Festival was able to present their events on a special bicycle and solar powered stage which became a prime focus of the summer festival and a key project that led to the continued development of the Sustainability Village. Since its debut, the Sustainability Village has become a place to learn new skills and see how individuals are using technology in ways that preserve the environment and sustain natural resources.

Sponsorship funds from FortisBC also enabled Tiny Lights to partner with a new company, Green Power Events, to design and build the unique pedal and solar-powered performance stage, showcasing both sustainable and alternative energy.

By providing this stage at the festival, there was an opportunity for Tiny Lights Festival, ForitsBC, and Green Power Events to educate the community about the benefits of sustainable and alternative energy – a win-win partnership for all parties involved as well as festival audiences!


“The sponsorship of the stage allowed us to partner with multiple businesses, and brought a unique element to our festival which we would not have otherwise been able to afford given our size and budget.”

- Carla Stephenson, Executive Director



Benefits for FortisBC

For FortisBC, the sponsorship provided an opportunity to directly connect with the public on how the company is embracing alternative energy solutions.

Short term

  • Logo recognition and signage on Tiny Lights Festival’s website and festival stage
  • Opportunities for employees to attend special music events leading up to the main festival
  • Volunteer opportunities for FortisBC employees to volunteer at the bike-powered stage, an opportunity for client development, engagement with the local community and consumers of their energy products
  • Association of their company image and brand with the Sustainability Village’s central attraction
  • Exclusive invites for FortisBC employees to the festival’s special closing events, usually reserved for artists and volunteers

Long term

  • FortisBC was able to showcase alternative power products and services to audiences and patrons of the festival, which are primarily made up of the local and surrounding communities
  • The sponsorship provided FortisBC with an opportunity to engage directly on a personal level with community members and show them how the company is working towards embracing alternative energy solutions
  • Ongoing buzz and media attention generated from the sustainability stage, creating a lasting marketing impact for FortisBC.



“The media attention that came from our festival from the solar and bike powered stage was a surprise. Our local MLA, Michelle Mungall, came to pedal the stage and our partnership was featured in local papers – this was a win for FortisBC and Tiny Lights Festival.”

- Carla Stephenson, Executive Director

Benefits for Tiny Lights Festival

The festival was able to launch a Sustainability Village, the purpose of which is to examine, celebrate and learn about all of the elements that make a community sustainable.

Short term

  • Achieved the win-win concept by realizing an added attraction for their audience, with help from the FortisBC sponsorships.
  • Highlighted their Sustainability Village through exciting activation of the bike-powered stage, were able to engage audiences in a meaningful way and promote their arts and environment sustainability mandate
  • Tiny Lights Festival avoided incurring the cost of a pricy venue stage

Long term

  • The festival heavily marketed the Sustainability Village, the effects of which brought leaders in the area together to learn from each other (Ongoing conversations will help promote the Sustainability Village and festival programs for future seasons)
  • Having FortisBC included in the list of sponsors helps the festival gain corporate validity and trust with other business sponsors
  • The success from the partnership helped the festival renew future sponsorship and keep the Sustainability village as an integral part of the festival’s programming

“The festival goers loved the direct involvement of the bikes at the interactive stage. It is easy to walk by a solar panel and not realize that it is innovative, but when people can get on a bike and realize that their energy is directly powering the equipment on the stage, they really understand the innovation.”

- Carla Stephenson, Executive Director

Benefits for the Community

  • Added value to the community’s tourism industry
  • Engaged youth in the community
  • Retention of local artists and talent through growth of the festival
  • Engagement from local businesses in youth and environmental programs and issues
  • Hosted more than 30 workshops in the community, more than 80 musical performances and created a participatory festival for the community.
  • Preservation of heritage buildings within the community that were used for venue stages







Throughout the planning process in the creation of the Sustainability Village, Tiny Lights kept FortisBC updated about all ideas and showed them how their sponsorship dollars would be used. Tiny Lights acknowledged FortisBC’s support in the festival program, and have since told the story at the 2015 Canadian Arts Summit and at the Canadian Rural Revitalization Conference (Fall/Winter 2015).

Throughout the year, Tiny Lights made a point of informing FortisBC about all of the spinoff benefits from their sponsorship, showing how far the story has reached outside the region of Ymir.

The partnership was extremely successful for both organizations, and went beyond the initial launch of the village project. The experience for the business in particular was so valuable that FortisBC offered to sponsor the next season’s festival before Tiny Lights Festival had an opportunity to inquire about signing on for a new sponsorship.

“This year (being a very understaffed non-profit arts organization) we were very busy leading up to the festival, and we received and email from FortisBC offering their sponsorship before we even had time to ask.”

- Carla Stephenson, Executive Director