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Street Performers Festival cancels 2020 event, but the show will go on...line
EDMONTON -- As COVID-19 cancellations mount, another popular street festival running for 36 years and counting has been cancelled in Edmonton.
The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival will not go ahead as planned July 3-12, the organization announced Wednesday.
"With the current COVID-19 pandemic and government regulations banning large gatherings, the many requirements needed to run a safe Festival, and the international nature of the Festival cast, the decision was deemed as necessary," the street festival wrote in a statement.
“We really want our audiences, staff and volunteers to be really good StreetFest folks by doing the right thing, which is please stay home and be safe," said Shelley Switzer, the festival’s artistic producer.
Edmonton’s Works Festival cited similar reasons for its cancellation, saying even if public gathering bans were lifted, there is simply not enough time to properly plan for the event.
“The production process leading up to it involves a lot of social interaction and we don’t have the production time now at this point to be mounting that,” said the festival’s executive art director, Amber Rooke.
The cancellations are another blow to the city’s economy caused by the pandemic, as the Works Festival has drawn more than nine-million visitors over 34 years, while StreetFest drew more than 225,000 spectators in 2019 alone.
Both festival committees are looking at "alternate ways" to adapt to the pandemic by providing online content like videos from past festivals, busker tips and tricks and activities to do at home, said board chair Jill Wright.
Rooke says the Works Art festival will also be sharing content online as a way to keep supporters engaged.
"Now more than ever, we need the fun and laughter StreetFest brings," Wright said.
The festival has existed since 1984 and puts a spotlight on street performers and art. Organizers say it is the "first and largest street performance festival of its kind in North America.”
Both festivals were set to return to Churchill Square now that construction there is complete. Now, officials on both committees are looking forward to the even longer awaited return in 2021.