Newport won’t be hosting its annual Jazz and Folk Festivals this year due to the ongoing coronavirus.
Both fests have been on-the-rocks over the past few weeks as organizers tried to decide if it was safe or not to continue with the summer celebrations. However, on Wednesday, organizers of the Newport Festivals Foundation announced the cancellations, citing that “together with our local leaders and [Rhode Island] governor Gina Raimondo, we have concluded that at this time we risk too much in having a gathering of our size.”
NFF Executive Director Jay Sweet announced the cancellations and noted that all artists who were slated to perform in 2020 have already been invited for the 2021 events, promising that “we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend[s].”
This year’s Folk Festival was set to take place from July 30 to August 2, featuring performances from artists like Big Thief, Randy Newman, Grace Potter, and Yola. The event was slated to be followed by the Jazz Festival from August 7 to 9 with acts like Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff, and Robert Glasper taking the stage.
Earlier this month, NFF launched a musicians relief fund to help those affected by the virus. The NFF announced that it would provide “rapid micro and full grants,” as well as financial support to those struggling. In just two weeks, the foundation told Pollstar that it has “already given away low six figures.”
Currently, Rhode Island is under a stay-at-home order through May 8, with all gatherings of more than five people banned across the state.