Perth, Ontario – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing measures instituted by the federal and provincial governments, Stewart Park Festival has been cancelled for the mid-July weekend.
Festival Chair Delores MacAdam says the decision to cancel at this point was difficult.
“After much consideration, we’ve made the heart-breaking decision to cancel the Stewart Park Festival for 2020,” says MacAdam. “With the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated health risks and social distancing measures currently in place, we are fulfilling our responsibility to continue to help flatten the curve.”
The music festival, which takes place in Stewart Park in downtown Perth, Ontario, attracts more than 20,000 attendees each year. Slated for July 17-19, 2020, the festival is set to celebrate its 29th year.
“We’re disappointed to have to make this tough yet necessary decision,” says MacAdam. “One month ago, we weren’t even considering a cancellation. But the pandemic’s reach across Canada is enough reason to take a step back this summer.”
The Festival committee members were all asked for their insight. MacAdam later spoke to many festival organizers both in Ontario and around the globe to ensure the festival organizers were not making a decision without solid and well-researched information.
MacAdam adds the sponsorship team didn’t feel comfortable asking businesses for funding at a time when layoffs and closures are occurring – a concept she completely supports.
“Not only are we working to support the social distancing measures to help reduce the spread, we’re also considering the businesses who sponsor us each year,” says MacAdam. “We’re a small community and while the Festival is such a beloved annual tradition, we are respecting the needed measures to protect both our health and economy. This is the time to support our local businesses in different ways.”
The committee will take the next few days to reach out to notify sponsors, volunteers and musicians slated to support the Festival weekend.
Perth Mayor John Fenik commends the Stewart Park Festival team for their dedication.
“While cancelling the Stewart Park Festival was a difficult decision, I want to thank the Festival organizers for making the right decision,” says Fenik. “I look forward to a time when the Festival returns: it will be a time when we can all gather and celebrate music, art, food and being together as a community. I am confident, upon its return, the Stewart Park Festival will be better than ever.”
Future event plans still in the works
Though the July weekend has been cancelled, MacAdam says the SPF team has not ruled out a future event date.
“We still want to honour and celebrate the spirit of Stewart Park Festival, which is to ultimately bring people together through music,” says MacAdam, adding that a one or two day gathering in the fall, or later in the year, is a possibility. “The Festival may look different this year, but we’ll continue to remain committed and work toward living out the 29-year-long tradition later in the year.”
Please keep up to date by following the Stewart Park Festival Facebook page.