Tools of the trade at the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Photo by Terry Farrell

COVID-19 forces cancellation of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Announcement regarding tickets forthcoming

The news Vancouver Island MusicFest executive producer Doug Cox was expecting came down Saturday morning.

At her April 18 COVID-19 update, B.C.’s provincial health officer announced the social restrictions in place would not be lifted in time for any large-scale events this summer.

“Realistically, we will not be having those big events where people gather together this summer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference. “This is a challenging time around our world and it’s not going to be easy for us to get out of it, but those types of large, mass-gatherings where we have lots of people together, this is not the time for that.”

RELATED: COVID-19 precautions pull summer events off the table

And with that, Cox turned to Plan B.

“For the last month or so, we’ve been preparing two plans – one for the festival to go as scheduled (July 10-12), and one in case of cancellation,” he said.

So, what is Plan B?

“Now that we have cancelled the festival, we have to deal with the fallout from all that – dealing with the ticket-buyers, all the suppliers, sponsors, cancelling all the performers,” said Cox.

As for ticket-holders, Cox said there will be an announcement forthcoming.

“We will be sending out an announcement in the next few days.”

Apart from the logistical challenge MusicFest management faces in the days and weeks ahead, Cox said the toughest thing is simply accepting the reality of the situation.

“We are devastated,” he said. “Our biggest thrill for so many of the staff that put on the festival are those set-up days, when people are at the site, watching everybody arrive, watching the team come together to build the ‘town’ of MusicFest. So many people look forward to that all year. Aside from the music and the financial impact and all of that stuff, that’s the heartbreaking part, is to know we are not going to have that celebration this year.”

Cox added that even before the government intervention, it was becoming clear in the past few weeks that this year’s event would not be possible.

“When you look at our own responsibility when it comes to the health of our patrons and our volunteers – we have a kids’ area, we have a kitchen that feeds 2,000 people a day, we have a campground of 4,000 people, we have people travelling from all over the world to get here – it’s just impossible,” he said. “It would simply be the wrong decision for us to proceed with the festival this year.”

Although Henry made the announcement at her daily briefing Saturday, there has yet to be an official directive from the government, regarding the process to be followed for such events.

While Cox expects to hear of a relief program set up through the federal government to ease the financial burden of such a cancellation, he appreciates that’s not a top priority for the government, at the moment.

“Really, this is tough, but there are no sour grapes,” he said. “I am so proud to be a Canadian, in terms of how our government has tried very hard to support everyone.”



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirusmusic festivals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 re-opens after accident involving downed power lines

The highway is open to single lane alternating traffic, Drive BC says expect minor delays

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

Cyclist in his 50s victim of fatal crash near Hope Thursday

Police have ruled out speed, impairment as factors after a tractor-trailer struck a man in his 50s

FVRD flooding evacuation alerts in effect

Unprotected areas affected include parts of Morris Valley Road and Lougheed Highway

Rainfall records fell in deluge Saturday across the Fraser Valley

The steady rain broke the May 30 record in Chilliwack for rain with one day total of 31.7 mm

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read