Ontario music events Boots & Hearts, Big Sky and CBC Music Festival scrapped for 2020

TORONTO — A number of major Ontario summer music festivals were cancelled on Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republic Live, the organizer of Boots & Hearts and Big Sky, said that both weekend country music events have been sidelined for 2020 as the virus "remains a risk for all large-scale events."

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And the 2020 CBC Music Festival was also scrapped by CBC Music and Live Nation in what a joint statement called "an abundance of caution for the health and safety of attendees, artists, and staff."

The cancellations add to a growing list of summer music festivals across the country that organizers have called off to help prevent further spread of COVID-19. Events recently pulled off the schedule range from the Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island to the Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, B.C.

The CBC Music Festival was slated to take place on May 30 in Toronto with performances by Polaris Prize winner Haviah Mighty, Metric, Half Moon Run and Lights. Tickets will be automatically refunded at point of purchase.

Republic Live's Boots & Hearts is among the biggest concert events in the country. Both it and Big Sky are held at the massive Burl's Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont. The site, which is about 30 kilometres north of Barrie, hosted the Rolling Stones last summer.

The 2020 Boots & Hearts lineup was supposed to include Eric Church, Dan + Shay and pop singer Alessia Cara. Church has already committed to headlining next year's edition, organizers noted.

"We are truly sorry we won't be able to celebrate ... with you this summer," Republic Live said in a statement.

"We are already moving forward with the planning for Aug. 5-8, 2021 — the much anticipated 10th anniversary."

Passes for this year's Boots & Hearts will be honoured next year, and full refunds are "available upon request for all ticket types," the company added. The value on wristbands, which allow concertgoers to use cashless payment on the grounds, will also be credited to people who hold onto their tickets.

Republic Live added that Big Sky festival tickets are being automatically refunded to the purchasers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 1, 2020

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