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Vancouver International Jazz Festival cancelled due to COVID-19
Published Thursday, April 9, 2020 5:00PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is the latest event to be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers announced the cancellation Thursday, saying they've been working "non-stop" to figure out how to put on a festival in 2020, but determined over the past month that doing so would be impossible. The festival had been scheduled for June 19-28.
The Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, which organizes the annual event, called the decision necessary, but "hugely disappointing."
"We are so sorry that we’ve had to take this unprecedented step, but we are determined that when it’s safe to do so, we’ll be back," the society said.
In an FAQ on its website, the society explained why postponing the event, instead of cancelling it, wouldn't have worked.
Because the festival takes place in a variety of venues around the city, the society said, postponing it would have been more complicated than postponing a music festival that takes place at just one location.
"All of our venues are facing the same economic uncertainty that we are, and we can’t be certain that fall rebookings will be available to us at the rates we’ve enjoyed, or at all," the society said. "For venues that are able to reopen, it is unclear if they will be permitted to run at full capacity. We are not even sure when small gatherings and travel will be allowed — let alone large ones like Downtown Jazz Weekend or David Lam Park Jazz Weekend. We simply don’t know a safe date to postpone to."
Anyone who purchased a ticket to a show that was part of the festival will be contacted by email with instructions for how to receive a refund or donate the cost of their purchase to the society.
The society said cancelling the festival will cause "significant financial challenges," adding that it is working with donors and sponsors "to secure the festival's survival through this perilous period."
"We are confident we can weather this storm and return in full force in 2021," the society said in its FAQ.
In the meantime, organizers say they are planning "a variety of efforts" to support the musical community in the fall and winter.
"What that looks like right now, we’re not sure, but it could include streamed concerts, an expanded year-round concert series featuring some of the artists slated to appear at the 2020 Festival, an expansion of our Winter Jazz series, or something completely different," the society said.