For the second straight year, COVID-19 has put the kibosh on the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
In a statement posted to the festival’s website Wednesday, organizers said this year’s event planned for July 8-11 at Birds Hill Provincial Park will not go ahead as planned.
“We’ve looked at every option possible, but with continued uncertainty about the pandemic restrictions that will be in place this summer, it’s simply impossible for us to safely hold an event of our size and stay true to our typical Folk Fest experience,” the statement reads.
Last April the festival announced it was following in the footsteps of other large festivals worldwide by cancelling their 2020 event — which would have been their 47th annual festival — also due to the pandemic.
All is not lost this year, though, organizers say.
The festival said Wednesday they’re working towards creating a “new musical event on a smaller scale” for later in the summer to work within health restrictions.
According to the festival’s statement the plans would see smaller, in-person events with live music held over three nights Aug 13-15 on the main stage at Birds Hill.
“While it may not be the same festival experience we’re used to, we want nothing more than to support artists and share live music with our community in the safest way we can at this time,” organizers said.
“We are also exploring streaming options for those who would like to participate and support the Folk Festival but may be unable or uncomfortable to attend an in-person gathering this summer.”
The festival stresses the plans are tentative and will depend on the pandemic’s evolution, health orders at the time, and vaccine rollout.
“We will only move forward with this new event if conditions allow us to do so safely,” reads the statement.
“There are still many factors beyond our control that may affect these plans.”