Kitchener-Waterloo

Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival latest music event to cancel plans for this year

Organizers of the Sun Life Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival announced Monday that the festival that was scheduled for this summer will not go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions.

'No words to properly express out disappointment,' co-president says

This photo from the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival Facebook page shows a 2018 audience enjoying some music on a July evening. The festival's organizers say this year's festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival/Facebook)

The organizers of the Sun Life Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival have announced this year's event has been cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19 and possible restrictions on gatherings.

The announcement was made on Monday.

"We knew there was no way we could hold our festival this year in its usual form," Jackie White co-president of the festival, said in a release.

"We have been working with Bingemans to develop a drive-in format that would permit a safe, live, music experience for our community to enjoy.  Unfortunately, under current restrictions, a drive-in event is not possible."

The festival is normally held in July. This is the second year in a row it's been cancelled.

Cheryl Ewing, general manager of the festival, says it was becoming to difficult to plan for an event when they didn't know if it could even be held.

"There are artist contracts to negotiate and sign, a production company to hire, equipment rental to arrange,  sponsors to attract and agreements to set up, vendors to find and set up, other onsite support to finalize and  volunteers to organize," she explained.

"We have reached the point where it is not possible to organize a high quality festival and current restrictions do not allow the drive-in alternative we were hoping to use." 

Steve Joyce, also co-president of the festival, said there were "no words to properly express out disappointment."

The festival's organizers say while no event will be held this year, they continue to foster local musicians with a newly announced early career stage mentoring program for musicians. Details about the program are found on the festival's Facebook page.

On Friday, Hillside Festival in Guelph announced it, too, would not hold an in-person festival this summer. Instead, organizers will again plan for a virtual festival.

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