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Saskatoon summer festivals start planning for 2021, with COVID-19 safety measures

Click to play video 'Saskatoon summer festivals start planning for 2021, with COVID-19 safety measures' Saskatoon summer festivals start planning for 2021, with COVID-19 safety measures
WATCH: Saskatoon festivals are getting their houses in order in anticipation some events could take place this spring and summer – Jan 21, 2021

Summer festivals that had to be put on pause last year due to the coronavirus pandemic are starting to prepare, hoping they are able to hold events during summer 2021.

Last week, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival announced it has opened its application process for artists hoping to perform on stage during the week-long music festival.

Read more: Coronavirus: Safety and financial concerns factors for postponed summer festivals

Organizers hope public health measures will give them options so people can attend concerts safely come July 9.

“I believe that there is going to be a live and a virtual component of the festival and we’re hoping to announce in the coming weeks what that model might look like,” artistic director Kevin Tobin told Global News.

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But he admits it remains unknown how many people will be able to attend, when and if live shows return, with matters dependent on the province’s continuing fight against COVID-19.

However, Tobin added the festival has the ability to adjust to any new health measures that may come if they’re given ample time.

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan Jazz Festival looking at new ways to host 2021 event' Saskatchewan Jazz Festival looking at new ways to host 2021 event
Saskatchewan Jazz Festival looking at new ways to host 2021 event – Jan 19, 2021

It has at least one performer excited for what the summer could bring.

Graham Dyck is a regular at the jazz festival and said he’s looking forward to performing again to a large crowd in Saskatoon.

Read more: More Canadians likely to shop, eat out than go to concerts, sports games in 2020: poll

Dyck, who is also a paramedic, said he understands how the idea of a festival could concern some people but noted as long as health protocols are followed he isn’t concerned.

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It’s a similar feeling for the host of A Taste of Saskatchewan and Rock the River.

Both festivals are put on by the SaskTel Centre and its executive director is hopeful larger events will be able to take place.

Scott Ford noted many things will hinge on public health measures, but with more people being vaccinated, he too is starting to reach out to vendors and performers.

As of 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, TicketMaster had listed dates for Rock the River.

Read more: Tourism sector won’t recover until 2024: Tourism Saskatoon CEO

Living Sky Café participated in its first Taste of Saskatchewan festival in 2019 and said it drove traffic to their restaurant over the following three months.

The owners said they would have a booth if an event was able to take place safely.

“It’s definitely going to have to change how the festival takes place, but I do think that there is a way to do it in a safe manner. Everyone has gotten very used to the takeout and take it home,” co-owner Jenna Dubé added.

Tourism Saskatoon projected Saskatchewan lost between $400-500 million from event cancellations in 2020.

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