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Canada's music festivals in 2021: What's cancelled this summer?

The vaccine rollout across the country had many filled with hope for a return to a pre-pandemic summer music festival scene. On Thursday, Montreal's Osheaga Festival cancelled its line-up for the second year in a row, meaning audiences won't get to see acts like Post Malone, Cardi B and the Foo Fighters.

Montreal's Osheaga Festival cancelled; RBC BluesFest in Ontario moved to July 2022

A colourful crowd of music lovers at the 2013 Osheaga festival in Montreal. The festival won't be going ahead this year. (Frank Opolko/CBC)

The vaccine rollout across the country had many filled with hope for a return to a pre-pandemic summer music festival scene. On Thursday, Montreal's Osheaga Festival cancelled its line-up for the second year in a row, meaning audiences won't get to see acts like Post Malone, Cardi B and the Foo Fighters.

Some festival organizers say this summer will be the same as 2020, while others try to scramble to take their shows online. CBC News contacted some of the most popular music festivals in Canada to see which ones plan to go ahead. 

Ontario

The RBC BluesFest has been moved to July 2022. According to a statement by festival executive director Mark Monahan, the decision to move the date to next year has allowed the festival to book Rage Against the Machine as their headlining act.

Seal is seen performing at the RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa in 2012. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

The Boots and Hearts Music Festival in Oro-Medonte, Ont., echoed the same sentiments last week. The summertime event will return in August 2022. 

Festival goers for both events who had already purchased their tickets for 2021 have the option to request refunds on their tickets or hold onto them until next year.

The Canadian Music Week Conference and Festival will be going on this year from May 18 to 21. The event will be virtual and has a long line-up of local and international performers.

Burlington, Ont., won't see its regular Sound of Music (SOM) Festival this summer. SOM event organizers have opted to arrange live performances on patios, restaurants and around town all summer long.

Québec 

The Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) is still scheduled to happen between July 8 to 18. FEQ organizers told CBC News the festival is working within public health guidelines to create a safe experience, but have no intentions of making this year's event virtual.

Québec's Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has been postponed to next summer. Organizers say passes from 2020-2021 will be honoured for the festival in 2022.

Topless people play with inflatable flamingos and get splashed at the Osheaga music festival in 2018. (CBC)

Meanwhile, Montreal's Jazz Festival has been scheduled for later this fall. Event coordinators said it will be a mix of virtual and outdoor shows.

British Columbia

Luke Wallace performing at the 40th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 2017. (Alex Harris/CBC)

Big music festivals like Shambhala Music Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival and Fvded in the Park have all been postponed until next year due to COVID-19.

In the meantime, Vancouver Island Folk Music Festival is planning virtual experiences. It's not clear what the virtual music offering will be like for this year, but event organizers have started processing refunds on 2020 tickets for those want them. 

Alberta

Thousands grooved at the annual Edmonton Folk Music Festival in 2018. (CBC)

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival was cancelled in early April but organizers noted they remain optimistic for a return in 2022.

The organizers of the Calgary Folk Music Festival told CBC they are looking for safe ways to bring back live music. The festival is slated to run from July 22 to July 25.

Saskatchewan

The Country Thunder music festival in Craven, Sask., will be cancelled for the second time in a row. Organizers said that they are planning to have the festival next year in July.

Manitoba

Winnipeg's Folk Festival coordinators said that this year's festival at Birds Hill Provincial Park has been cancelled. As an alternative, there will be small scale live music performances starting August 13.

Atlantic Canada

Carrie Underwood was the headliner for the Cavendish Beach Music festival in 2019. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival (CBMF) on Prince Edward Island scheduled for July 9 has been cancelled this year. According to a statement, organizers say they are working toward a modified beach event.

The Nova Scotia Summerfest is scheduled to run this year from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22. Organizers of the festival told CBC they are working on an alternative plan and finalized details will be announced at a later date.

According to its website, the Halifax Jazz Festival is scheduled to run between July 14-18. However, festival organizers were unable to confirm whether it's going ahead when contacted by CBC News.

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