Manitoba

Winnipeg Folk Fest cancels August events due to COVID-19

The Winnipeg Folk Fest has announced it won't be going ahead with a series of live music events planned for August due to COVID-19. 

5 live music events had been planned for August in place of annual July festival

Crowds gathered at Birds Hill Park for the 2016 Winnipeg Folk Festival. The July event was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but organizers hoped to hold smaller, in-person concerts the weekend of Aug. 13 at the festival main stage. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

The Winnipeg Folk Fest has announced it won't be going ahead with a series of live music events planned for August, due to uncertainty caused by the continuing third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.

In March, organizers announced the annual July music festival at Birds Hill Park would be cancelled for the second year due to the pandemic.

However, they said they hoped to hold smaller, in-person concerts the weekend of Aug. 13 at the festival main stage.

That will no longer happen. 

"Unfortunately, we are sad to announce that with so much uncertainty around the future impact of the pandemic in Manitoba, we are unable to move forward with our events as we had wished," a Friday Winnipeg Folk Festival news release said.

"Our team worked as hard as we could to make these events a reality, but we have run out of time to successfully plan a safe experience for all."

Manitoba remains under tight public health restrictions, as the province faces its third wave of COVID-19 infections. 

On Friday, the province announced 329 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths. There are 106 Manitobans receiving intensive care for COVID-19, including 65 within the province  and 41 patients who have seen sent to hospital in another province for care. 

"Our day-to-day cases are getting a bit better, but our health-care system is still struggling," Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, said at a news conference Friday. He urged people to continue to abide by the current health orders.

The province's current public health orders, in effect until June 12, prohibit all public gatherings, either indoors or outdoors. Premier Brian Pallister said this week Manitoba will be announcing its reopening strategy in the coming week.

The Winnipeg Folk Festival said it looks forward to Manitobans being able to gather for the festival next summer. 

"Until then, please stay safe and get vaccinated!" Friday's release said. 

With files from Darren Bernhardt and Sarah Petz

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