HALIFAX -- A popular Maritime music festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers announced Wednesday that the Stan Rogers Folk Festival -- also known as Stanfest -- which was scheduled to take place from July 23 to 26, will not go ahead this year.

The weekend-long music festival, held each year in Canso, N.S., features a variety of genres, including folk, country, jazz, swing, blues, rag, gospel, pop, rock, and bluegrass.

“We have been constantly monitoring data and hoping for clarity on how long isolation measures will be in effect,” said Stanfest founder and producer Troy Greencorn in a written statement.

“It is now apparent that restrictions on gatherings will persist throughout the spring and summer, and possibly into the fall. There is no way we will go from home-based isolation to large events with thousands gathered. It’s looking more and more like large events like ours won’t be able to proceed until a vaccine is in place.”

The announcement follows the cancellation of other major events in the region, including the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, the Halifax Jazz Festival, and the Antigonish Highland Games.

Stanfest organizers say they believe federal and provincial authorities should mandate the cancellation of all large summer events.

“It would be much easier for us all if public health officials would mandate this action. Our situation is compounded by the camping nature of the festival. We have several thousand attendees who live on-site in campgrounds for the weekend. It will be impossible to meet the public expectation for disinfection and hygiene,” says Greencorn.

“Canso is a community of under 1,000 residents and we feel we’d be taking unreasonable risk to invite thousands of visitors into the community, even if the event was permitted to proceed. There are just too many risks and too much uncertainty.”

Like many arts organizations, Stanfest is contemplating opportunities to present artists to audiences through an online platform in the interim.

“We have been amazed at the way the world has turned to online music at an unprecedented level for comfort and entertainment during this period of self-isolation,” says Greencorn.

“When we come through this, and we will, it seems certain that audiences will have grown and be eager to experience live music again. We are exploring ways that Stanfest can join the movement and bring our audience and community together virtually until we can gather again in person.”

Organizers have also turned their attention to planning the 2021 festival, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the Stan Rogers Folk Festival.

Ticket holders for the 2020 Stanfest can visit www.stanfest.com for information on refunds, exchanges, and donations.