By Drew Anderson, for Fast Forward Weekly
To say it's been a hell of a ride would be an understatement. We've done our damnedest to spread the gospel of Calgary's cultural scene, and even skewered that scene from time to time (only ever out of love). We've tasted countless meals at countless restaurants, downed copious amounts of booze and taken in more bands than we care to count. We've pissed off everyone from Prime Ministers to Premiers and a lot of people in between, and we've mostly had a good time doing it.
Unfortunately, that fun is coming to an end.
After 19 years, Fast Forward Weekly as you know it, and as we love it, is shutting down. We were informed by our owners, Great West Newspapers, that our last issue will be March 5, 2015, meaning we have two more weeks of alternative news, views, arts and entertainment before calling it quits.
The future of ffwdweekly.com is yet to be determined.
I still think there is a great need for alternative media, particularly in a city like Calgary, where oil and gas rules and conservatives keep winning bloody elections. Fast Forward Weekly has always been a voice in Calgary's media wilderness and while being part of it was sometimes disheartening, it always felt important to be a source of dissent. I hope you agree that Calgary is worse off for our closure, no matter if you agree with us or not. Nobody covers Calgary's arts scene the way we do, whether it be our listings or the constant stories on theatre, exhibitions, music and more. At the very least, Calgary's inner-city streets will be a bit more drab without our colourful covers.
Our readership never dipped, proving that Calgarians are hungry for the kind of journalism and cultural coverage that Fast Forward provides, but the ad dollars just weren't there to support it. We have won more awards and honours that we can count thanks to our talented writers, editors, illustrators and photographers, many of whom worked hard to make this publication what it is for very little compensation. We also acted as a springboard for many young talents.
I'm honoured and saddened to be at the helm of this paper — which I respected long before given the chance to write my first article — at the time of its demise.
We are planning a big sendoff, with a final paper that we hope will do justice to a publication that swam against the stream for longer than most thought possible. We are also going to throw ourselves a farewell party, with details to come. We hope to see a lot of familiar Calgary faces so that we can all say goodbye face to face.
Needless to say, the staff is upset at the news and rightly nervous about what's to come. We would love to hear your memories of almost 20 years of Fast Forward Weekly to help cheer us up. Feel free to leave comments here, spread the love on Facebook and Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We just might compile some of those memories in our last issue.
This post originally appeared on Fast Forward Weekly’s website.