Summer festival cancellations piling up in the Maritimes
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Summer festivals of all sizes all across the Maritimes have had to make the difficult decision to cancel their events amid the COVID-19 crisis.
It's a big blow to the organizers who dedicate months to planning, and the host communities that reap the financial benefits.
The Halifax Jazz Festival has been bringing music to the Maritimes for more than 30 years, but this year the show won't go on.
"There's so much value to the community, to the artists to us, and all the work that we put into, just to cancel that was really difficult," said Andrew Jackson, the festival's senior program manager.
Described as the largest festival in Atlantic Canada, the organizers had to make the tough call to cancel because of COVID-19.
It's a decision many have had to make with the summer concert season getting closer. That includes Area 506 in Saint John, which was set to host its fifth festival.
"We had great momentum," festival founder Ray Gracewood said from Quispamsis, N.B. "We see this as a small setback. I think the reality is, nobody can control these kinds of factors."
Other cancellations include the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, the Atlantic Balloon Fiesta in Sussex, and the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.
President Jeff Squires says "the safety of our community remains a priority and we will forego Year 12 and reunite in 2021."
The organizers of Stanfest in Canso, N.S., have posted a statement saying "the situation is devastating for the festival and its parent organization. We must now turn the page and begin to plan for 2021."
This year's much-anticipated edition of Touchdown Atlantic, featuring a sold-out game between the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders is still on -- for now.
The CFL says its plans are in the hands of public health officials as it shapes up to be a quiet summer season.