Vancouver’s summertime event calendar is starting to look quite bleak given the uncertainty over COVID-19 and the duration of the government restrictions on large gatherings to fight the spread of the illness.
The latest major event cancellation is the 2020 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, which was scheduled to occur from June 19 to July 1. Organizers announced today their decision to forgo this year’s festival, which would have been its 35th anniversary.
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“Our team has been working non-stop to consider how we might be able to present a Festival in 2020, but over the past month, as the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated, it has become clear that it won’t be possible to do so in a safe manner,” reads a release.
“With the support and advice of our board, we have made the hugely disappointing decision to cancel this year’s Festival. We are saddened to make this announcement, but we believe it is the right and responsible thing to do in order to protect our patrons, artists, staff, and community.”
According to organizers, the festival — like many other events experiencing cancellation or postponement — is now facing significant financial challenges due to the need for cancellation, but they are determined to return in 2021.
“We are working closely with our family of public funders, our title sponsor TD, our private donors, and corporate partners to secure the Festival’s survival through this perilous period, and we thank them all for their ongoing support,” continues the release.
“We look forward to a time when physical distancing is a thing of the past, and we can once again gather to experience the live moments of unrepeatable musical genius that power the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.”
The annual festival typically includes large free outdoor concerts at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza and David Lam Park, as well as Canada Day celebrations at Granville Island.
In 2019, there were over 1,800 artists, 300 performances, 35 venues, and 150+ free shows, which attracted a cumulative attendance of nearly 600,000 attendees. It is one of the city’s largest events, and usually kicks off the summertime event season.
Anyone who already bought tickets to a show at the 2020 festival will receive refunds.