After 50 successful years of bringing arts and music to Regina’s downtown, the Regina Folk Festival has officially been cancelled for 2020.
The event was scheduled to take place on August 7-9. Due to COVID-19, however, the non-profit has decided to follow advice from both federal and provincial governments to cancel all mass gatherings.
“Ultimately, we don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy by coming to our festival,” said executive director Josh Haugerud.
“It’s supposed to be a fun, safe space for everyone.”
The announcement comes only one day after the organization introduced Haugerud as the new executive director, taking over for former CEO and creative director Sandra Butel.
Even though Haugerud said this is not an ideal way to start off in his role, it was necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of Regina residents.
“It just didn’t make sense this year to continue on with the uncertainty of the virus, and the potential that it has to be harmful to people that would come to the festival,” Haugerud said.
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After announcing on April 1 that alternative ways of delivering the festival were being considered, the cancellation comes with a heavy heart from all who have been working towards 2020’s festival since last year.
“It’s very sad. The team put in a lot of work to book this festival. We were really excited about the acts that were coming,” said Haugerud.
The acts that were supposed to perform have yet to be announced. The organization said they will still be highlighting those performers on their social media platforms in the coming weeks and months, in hopes of encouraging donations to musicians during the pandemic.
Those who have purchased tickets for 2020’s festival will have a number of options to consider going forward. RFF is offering for tickets to carry over for 2021’s festival, or tickets can be refunded upon request.
In lieu of these options, festival-goers can also view their ticket as a way of supporting the arts during this time of financial hardship.
“We know this is a difficult time for everybody, but we want to encourage folks to consider their ticket as a donation to the Regina Folk Festival,” Haugerud said.
“Music and arts are what is getting us through this crisis, and if we want to see them thrive after the crisis, we have to support them throughout it.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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