The 2020 Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals Cancelled Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Worries
With Wednesday’s announcement that both the 2020 Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival are completely canceled, the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic is slowly whittling away at what’s left of festival season. Originally scheduled to run on consecutive weekends starting July 31 – August 2 and August 7-9 respectively, the festivals are two of the oldest and most popular events of their kind in the U.S. drawing tens of thousands of people to Newport, Rhode Island, for over six decades.
Event organizers made their decision in accordance with Rhode Island’s ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings, and, even though no dates have been scheduled yet, they hope to bring the festivals back in 2021. In statements on the festivals’ social media sites, executive director Jay Sweet said this,
“It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the cancellation of the 2020 Newport Folk Festival. As devastating as it is to write those words, it’s balanced with a renewed sense of, well, HOPE, It’s Rhode Island’s motto for good reason and it’s also the feeling you, our festival family, constantly exudes when we come together in good times and perhaps more importantly, in difficult times as well. This community is truly unlike any other in music, and I believe we can emerge from this hardship stronger and more connected than ever before.”
An an identical statement was posted for the Newport Jazz Festival.
This year’s Newport Folk Festival would have featured The National, Randy Newman, Brittany Howard, Yola, The Black Pumas, Nathaniel Rateliff, Marcus King Band, Preservation Hall Band, and many more. The Newport Jazz Festival lineup included luminaries such as Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Jimmy, Cliff, Christian McBride, Angelique Kidjo, and a host of others.
“Although we won’t be able to gather at the Fort this summer, rest assured we have invited ALL the announced artists to join us next year,” said Sweet. “In the meantime, we promise we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend. As always, we have some secret surprises in store as well, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Until then, stay strong and folk on.” Read Jay Sweet’s complete statement regarding the Newport Folk Festival here and the Newport Jazz Festival here.
Ticket holders will have several options, including receiving a full refund; applying the refund toward a “2021 Revival Membership,” which assures members three-day tickets to next year’s festivals; or donating all or a portion of tickets that will go toward ensuring the festivals return in 2021. Ticket sales and donations support the Newport Festivals Foundation, a nonprofit which operates the Newport Folk and Jazz festivals and supports music education programs year-round across the country. The foundation has also established the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund to provide financial relief to musicians in the folk and jazz communities experiencing a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about the festivals, cancellations, refunds and credits, click on the links below.