It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, scheduled to take place June 24-28. This decision was based on a number of considerations including travel restrictions issued by several countries where some of our scheduled artists are from, travel restrictions announced by the Government of Canada, the announcement by City of Calgary on April 3rd, 2020 that “all festivals and events in Calgary with an audience of 50 people or more, must be canceled or postponed” as well as the order from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health prohibiting the gathering of persons in excess of 15 people in a group. As a result of these unfortunate developments, the scheduled events can no longer take place and our wonderful artists are unable to perform.
While this news obviously comes as a huge disappointment, we would like to acknowledge and applaud that the City is taking this necessary step to contain the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate the pressure on our health care system to best care for those affected by it.
We also understand that this doesn’t just affect our organization, but countless others in the city, and would like to extend our condolences to those organizations that are likewise struggling with today’s news. Perhaps most devastating to us is knowing the impact that these cancellations will have on our beloved community: the venues, artists, crews and partners who have all already been hit so hard by this crisis. We are committed to working hard for this community’s recovery, leveraging our energy, networks and resources to ensure that it returns stronger than ever.
Unfortunately, the scope and nature of our festival make it impossible for us to simply postpone the event until later in the year (to learn more, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions below). However, we have every intention of returning in June 2021 and are committed to supporting our community to the best of our abilities in the meantime.
We will be issuing refunds to all pass and ticket holders requesting them and will be contacting everyone shortly with details on how to proceed. Alternatively, to those whose personal situation allows, we humbly ask that you consider transferring your pass to the 2021 festival or donating the cost of your pass or individual ticket(s) to Sled Island in exchange for a charitable tax receipt. Keeping the festival alive is a precarious endeavour under the best of circumstances, and we expect the fallout of the pandemic to affect our revenue significantly in the year to come.
Stay safe, stay home, stay hopeful, friends.
The Sled Island Team
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why don’t you just postpone the event?
Unfortunately, due to the immense size of the festival and limited financial and human resources available to Sled Island, postponing simply isn’t an option for us. With just three full-time staff, the festival is an ambitious undertaking each year even with 12 months of artistic, funding, sponsorship, marketing and logistical planning and development, and unfortunately, simply choosing new dates doesn’t change the workload needed to make the festival happen and doesn’t allow all work previously completed to simply transfer over.
Sled Island is different than many summer music festivals in that it doesn’t take place on a single outdoor site, but in 30+ venues across Calgary. While this setup has always been something we’ve considered a strength of the festival, ensuring that we offer not just intimate spaces for artists and audiences to connect, but also that we showcase many parts of Calgary that even long-time residents are unaware of, in this instance, it’s also the source of a lot of big question marks. Many of our longest running venues are currently facing harsh economic realities and the question as to which will still be able to open their doors in the fall looms large. For those venues that do re-open, it is unclear if they will be required to run at 1/2 or less capacities or when small social gatherings will even be allowed in the first place. We simply don’t know when it would be safe to postpone to.
Beyond that, pass and ticket sales and sponsorship has all but evaporated since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the festival is not confident in assuming that those losses could be made up should the festival be allowed to go forward in the fall. The economic uncertainty is just too great at this point.
If we were to try to put all of our effort into running a scaled-back 2020 edition of the festival at a later date, one thing we know for sure is that doing so would not allow us to put on a festival in 2021 that is of the quality and scope we have come to expect.
As such, we are committed to using our energy and resources to not just returning in 2021, but to helping our community as best we can in the meantime.Read More >>