Why summer festivals are being canceled so early
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Why summer festivals are being canceled so early

Why summer festivals are being canceled so early
4/24/2020

With expectations of the stay-at-home order being lifted, why are festivals, some of which are still several weeks out, being canceled due to COVID-19? Here are 3 good reasons.

Why summer festivals are being canceled so early

Why the list of summer festival cancellations due to COVID-19 is growing

"Isn't it too early to cancel?" 

With expectations of the stay-at-home order being lifted starting May 1, some are understandably curious why festivals are being canceled due to coronavirus as far out as September.  Contemplating a summer without summer festivals is like looking forward to a winter without Christmas.  It sucks.  But for those people behind these amazing events, it sucks more. 

Festivals are powered by people, lots of people, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, pouring their hearts and souls into these events, giving up their time and expertise to give us the experience we crave, and which keep us coming back year after year.

While we are disappointed, they are devastated.  

So why would festivals, some of which are still several weeks out, cancel now?  What is the rationale?

Here are 3 good reasons why festivals are canceling early.

1. Concern for our community is the primary concern

Concern for the safety of festival-goers, volunteers, vendors, artists, and the countless others who contribute to putting on these events are often cited as the primary consideration.  Concerns that large crowds may trigger a second wave of COVID-19, and that encouraging non-essential travel of out-of-state artists, vendors, and festival-goers may further exacerbate the spread of coronavirus.

Concern for our community has undoubtedly been the number one driving force behind the canceling of these events.

2. Events need more time to organize than you might think

While many people are blissfully unaware just how much planning goes into the monumental task of putting together large-scale festivals, the clock is ticking and time is running out.  With so many moving parts, most festivals take several months of planning, while larger like Strawberry Fest and Celtic Fest take a year or more to organize. 

Some events have been able to reschedule for later in the year, but for many, it's simply not possible or practical to postpone or leave the decision until the last minute, nor is it fair to many of those involved. In fact, delaying the decision now could lead to severe practical and financial difficulties later for everyone, should cancellation become necessary. 

3. With uncertainty surrounding lockdown rules, safeguarding future events has become a priority

While community leaders consider relaxing the coronavirus lockdown rules and are moving towards reopening the economy, it's unclear when mass-gatherings and large events like festivals will be permissible.  In addition, new CDC safety guidelines being considered to ensure social distancing may prevent a unique if not impossible challenge for events that draw large crowds.

It's also unfortunate, but the longer the decision is deferred, the more nonrefundable expenses are racked up.  These can include fees for event space, equipment, advertising, and more. With no firm assurances that large events will be allowed to proceed this summer, early cancelation is fast becoming the only way to ensure continued financial viability, and to safeguard festivals for future generations.

Make no mistake, while our list of festivals canceled continues to grow, Summer 2020 without our favorite festivals will not be the same.

So let's focus instead on the summer-long party we'll be throwing this time next year.

Because there's no doubt, Dayton festivals will be back.

And Summer 2021 will be a year to remember.

Coronavirus: Local Covid-19 News