Manitoba

Dauphin's Countryfest cancelled again due to pandemic

Dauphin's Countryfest announced Wednesday that as with last year, the show won't go on in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Annual festival draws 10,000 guests annually but was also cancelled in 2020 over pandemic concerns

Dauphin's Countryfest, seen here in 2019, has been cancelled for the second-straight year due to COVID-19. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Manitobans hoping to get their annual fix of cowboy hats and songs about pickup trucks and heartache at the largest country musical festival in the province will have to wait until next year.

Dauphin's Countryfest announced Wednesday that as with last year, the show won't go on in 2021 due to the pandemic.

"The uncertainty of the right COVID-19 protocols to have in place to ensure the safety of festival goers, just leaves us with no choice but to hold off on welcoming everyone back to the hill this summer," said festival president Ann Ransom in a statement.

The announcement comes about a week after Winnipeg Folk Fest pulled the plug on its July camping and music festival, though organizers are planning a three-day live music festival — without festival camping — assuming that's possible by then.

Preparing for these festivals is a Herculean task. Countryfest leans on 1,300 volunteers and it takes about a year to prepare for the roughly 10,000 guests that attend annually.

Ransom said the festival typically generates a lot of revenue and the local economy will suffer another significant blow without it this summer.

General manager Rob Waloschuk said the festival plans to hold some small scale "COVID safe" events this summer.

The festival has already confirmed Johnny Reid for next year's Countryfest, and patrons who already purchased their tickets for this year will be treated to an exclusive show with Corb Lund and others next year if they don't claim a refund now, according to the festival.

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