The Edmonton Folk Music Festival announced Monday that the popular summer festival will not take place at Gallagher Park this year in August.
“As profoundly disappointing as this news is, we believe this is the only safe way forward,” festival producer Terry Wickham said.
“The safety of our patrons, volunteers and artists was of paramount importance in coming to this conclusion.”
In a news release, festival organizers said it’s impossible to move forward in the usual way planning and hosting a festival of this size “with so many variables at play,” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news release continued: “Without full vaccination, we won’t be fully safe from the spread of the virus.
“With virus variants and vaccine rollout still uncertain, the impossibility of social distancing at our event could lead to community spread.”
Folk Fest organizers said Monday they will build on their successful online offerings.
“And, if small gatherings are allowed, then we hope to add some community engagement to the mix.”
The premier said Monday that capacity restrictions on gatherings — especially those that are outside — will ease as more Albertans are vaccinated.
“As more people become immune, we’ll be able to get back to normal faster,” Jason Kenney said.
As of Monday morning, about 850,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Alberta.
The premier said he expects about half of Albertans to have some sort of immunity by the end of May, with that rising to two thirds by the end of June.
“When about half of us have immunity, we’re hoping to be able to raise capacity limits for gatherings,” Kenney said.
“We’re anticipating that we’ll be able to gather together in larger groups — while some restrictions may remain but not anything like right now.
“Once two thirds of us have immunity, we will start to feel back to normal. There will be no formal restrictions,” he said.
“Stampede, sporting events, other festivals will be possible, especially if outdoors, likely with certain public health precautions.”
By September, the premier expects about three quarters of Albertans will have some sort of immunity.
“Once three quarters of us are immune, we expect we’ll be fully back to normal.”
Updates on the 2021 Edmonton Folk Music Festival will be posted online and on Folk Fest’s social media platforms.