Coronavirus forces Edmonton-area festivals to cancel 2020 events

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WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, set to take place in August, was cancelled Monday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Breanna Karstens-Smith has more on what it mean for other Edmonton festivals this summer – Apr 13, 2020

Edmonton is known as a festival city, but summer 2020 will be a much different year for these events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several festivals have been forced to cancel, postpone or drastically change their events this year due to restrictions in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here is a list of the Edmonton-area festivals that are affected:

St. Albert Rainmaker – May 22-24

The St. Albert Kinsmen announced the cancellation of the 2020 St. Albert Rainmaker on Monday, April 13. Organizers said they are committed to returning in 2021 from May 28-30.

Nextfest – June 4-14

Nextfest announced on Thursday, April 8 it was cancelling its 2020 festival in its traditional form. Festival organizers said they would move the event online, but exact details of what that would look like were not immediately released.

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Freewill Shakespeare Festival – June 16 – July 12

On Thursday, April 8, the 2020 Freewill Shakespeare Festival was cancelled. Festival organizers announced they would present Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing in Hawrelak Park from June 15 to July 11, 2021

Edmonton International Jazz Festival – June 19-28

The Edmonton International Jazz Festival announced on Friday, April 10 the 2020 event would not be going forward. Festival organizers said they will work to find a way for people to come together in some fashion to celebrate music. Jazz fest plans to return next year on June 18-27, 2021.

The Works Art & Design Festival – June 24 – July 6

The Works Art & Design Festival announced on April 15 it was cancelling the 35th edition of the festival.

Organizers said the priority now is the health and well-being of festival artists, audiences, volunteers and staff, which means cancelling gatherings and keeping production spaces closed.

The Works will return to Sir Winston Churchill Square on June 24, 2021.

Soundtrack Music Festival – June 26 – 27

On April 22, the Soundtrack Music Festival announced the cancellation of its 2020 event. Organizers said anyone who purchased tickets will receive a full refund.

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Canada Day at the Alberta Legislature – July 1

On May 1, one week after Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced restrictions around mass gatherings in the province will be in place through the summer, the province announced the annual Canada Day celebration will not take place.

“We know that celebrating Canada Day at the legislature has been a meaningful tradition to thousands of families from across Alberta for many years,” reads a statement from Hon. Nathan Cooper. “The Legislative Assembly took this difficult decision as the health and safety of all of members, staff, visitors and partners remains our top priority. We look forward to celebrating together again next year.”

According to the news release, the event is the largest Canada Day celebration in the province, drawing more than 30,000 people each year.

City of Edmonton’s Canada Day fireworks – July 1

On April 24, the City of Edmonton announced it will not hold Canada Day festivities, including the fireworks display. The announcement came one day after the province’s chief medical officer of health announced restrictions around mass gatherings in the province will be in place through the summer.

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival – July 3-12

The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival announced on Wednesday, April 15, that the festival would not be able to go forward as planned. The festival said it made the decision based on the current ban on large gatherings, as well as the international nature of the festival cast.

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StreetFest was set to return to Churchill Square this summer, after spending two years relocated to Old Strathcona due to LRT construction.

Officials said in a release the festival would be looking at alternative ways to deliver activities to Edmontonians, such as online links to artist shows.

Taste of Edmonton – July 16 – 26

On April 23, Taste of Edmonton was cancelled for 2020. Organizers said they look forward to welcoming people back to the festival in 2021.

K-Days – July 17 – 26

On April 23, Northlands announced the cancellation of the 2020 K-Days festival. The organization said the 141st installment of the festival will be postponed until 2021.

READ MORE: 2020 K-Days, Taste of Edmonton festivals cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Sourdough Raft Race – July 19

The 2020 Sourdough Raft Race was cancelled April 29 due to the pandemic.

Big Valley Jamboree – July 30 – Aug. 2

Big Valley Jamboree announced April 24 that this year’s four-day music and camping festival had been cancelled.

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BVJ is expected to take place next year, in 2021, from July 29 to Aug. 1.

“All ticketing options will be automatically honoured for the rescheduled 2021 dates,” organizers said. “Ticket holders, please watch your email for correspondence regarding our transfer/refund policy, which you will receive on April 29.”

Edmonton Heritage Festival – Aug. 1-3

On April 24, Edmonton Heritage Festival cancelled its 2020 event, saying it will move to offer a virtual festival where people can order food for pickup and delivery.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival – Aug. 6-9

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival Society announced on April 21 that the 2020 edition of Folk Fest would not take place. The decision was made in light of the global pandemic and the implications it has on large gatherings.

The festival is working to reconfirm artists lined up for 2020 for a future year.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Edmonton Folk Music Festival ‘deeply sad’ to cancel 41st event

Cariwest – Aug. 7-9

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cariwest decided to cancel its 2020 festival. Organizers said they look forward to coming back in 2021.

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Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival – Aug. 13-23

The Edmonton Fringe Theatre announced on Monday, April 13 the 2020 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival would be cancelled. Organizers hope to come back even stronger in 2021, with the festival scheduled for Aug. 12 -22 in Old Strathcona.

READ MORE: 2020 Edmonton International Fringe Festival cancelled over COVID-19 pandemic

2020 World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton – Aug. 17 – 23

On April 24, the 2020 World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton announced that the Grand Final scheduled for Aug. 17-23 in Edmonton will not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This story will be updated as Global News learns of more festivals forced to change their plans amid the COVID-19 pademic.


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