Montreal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs postponed amid COVID-19 concerns
Montreal's Tour de l'Île and Francos de Montréal festivals are also cancelled
Two of Montreal's annual music festivals, the city's premiere comedy festival and the unofficial kickoff to the cycling season have all been cancelled or postponed as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
For the first time in over 40 years, the Montreal International Jazz Festival will not go on this summer.
Spectra, the group that organizes the festival, said in a news release it decided to cancel this year's edition after talks with the province's health authorities.
The Francos de Montréal, which is also run by Spectra, is also cancelled. The two festivals had been scheduled to start on June 12 and June 25 respectively.
"The Jazz Festival and Francos have become two of Montreal's flagship summer events. This decision, which was made with our private partners and the government, was therefore not an easy one, but it had become necessary," said Jacques Primeau, general manager for the two festivals.
According to the release, ticket holders for the festivals will be contacted shortly.
Meanwhile, Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival has been postponed until the end of September. The festival had been scheduled to start in July but will be held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 11 instead. Passes that were purchased for the festival will remain valid this fall.
"This event is not only important for the company here but it's also important for the city of Montreal," Just for Laughs President Charles Décarie said.
"Many many artists, whether they're emerging or established count on that festival to work, count on that festival to do their work, to perform their art.
That's why organizers made the decision to postpone the festival instead of cancelling it altogether, Décarie explained. Though, he admitted, postponing it comes as a bit of a financial risk.
"We are currently investing a lot of time, energy and money to reschedule it," Décarie said. "We're taking a commercial risk because we don't know what is likely to happen in October."
He said the festival they organized in Toronto, which is slated to begin mid-September, should go on as planned.
Vélo Québec also announced it would be cancelling several of its events this year, including the annual Tour de l'Île de Montréal and the Tour la Nuit. Those had been scheduled to take place from May 31 to June 7.
More than 25, 000 cyclists usually participate in the Tour de l'Île alone.
Cyclists who were already registered for the events will have the option of participating in next year's edition or being refunded.