Organizers cancel 42nd Vancouver Folk Music Festival due to COVID-19
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Folk Music Festival is the latest major event in B.C.'s Lower Mainland to be called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers announced the news "with heavy hearts" on the festival's website this week, blaming the ongoing public health crisis that has already forced the cancellation of the Vancouver Pride Festival, the PNE Fair, and the Celebration of Light.
"We've been monitoring the quickly evolving COVID-19 crisis, and it became very clear to us that the best course of action was cancellation," the festival's staff and board wrote.
"Thank you to all of our patrons, artists, volunteers, donors, sponsors, vendors, suppliers, and the community at large. You are the folk, this is your festival. We will get through this together."
People who have already purchased tickets to the festival's 42nd annual event can contact its office to discuss their options. Organizers said ticketholders can get refunds, transfer their passes to the planned 2021 festival, or, if they choose, donate the cost of their ticket to the Vancouver Folk Music Society.
Organizers said the impact of the pandemic has had a devastating impact on artists and arts organizations, and that the "Vancouver Folk Music Festival is no exception."
In the absence of the Folk Fest, which has been held annually since 1978, organizers encouraged people to continue embracing the arts in isolation. They suggested people "dance in (their) living room, sing in the shower, follow (their) favourite musicians, discover new creative initiatives, make music."
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has indicated some of the COVID-19 restrictions impacting daily life across B.C. could be lifted next month, but the ban on gatherings of more than 50 people is not going to be among them.
"We have some space to be able to open things up, to connect with people, but not on those large-scale events," Henry said during her daily virus briefing on Monday.
Health officials have said elective surgeries could be allowed to resume in May, and that restaurants could be allowed to reopen to the public provided they find a way to maintain physical distancing among guests.
But the easing of restrictions will be done gradually and meticulously, officials said, and at least some of the measures are expected to remain in place for at least a year.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Carly Yoshida-Butryn