STRAIT AREA: There will be very few events of any size this summer throughout the Strait area.

After the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Port Hawkesbury’s Festival of the Strait, the L’Ardoise Acadian Festival, Pirate Days in St. Peter’s, the Petit de Grat Acadian Festival, Mulgrave Scotia Days, the Granville Green Concert Series, and the Nova Scotia Summer Fest all announced cancellations last week, more continue to come in.

Paula Davis, Port Hawkesbury’s recreation and events director told The Reporter the importance of community has never been more important while working through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Davis said what started off as a difficult call back in March, now seems like the only sensible thing to do.

“We have waited as long as we could to reach the conclusion that one of the ways to keep our community healthy and safe is to cancel this year’s 26th Annual Granville Green Concert Series,” she said. “With the ongoing commitment of the Town of Port Hawkesbury and our sponsors in supporting and providing cultural opportunities, we will be back in 2021 to enjoy coming together to enjoy the series again.”

The six week concert series usually sees upwards of 1,500 people flock to Granville Street each week.

The town also recently confirmed that due to COVID-19, Canada Day celebrations are cancelled.

“Despite our hope that we could still hold a modified version of Celebrate Canada Day-Port Hawkesbury, or even a community celebration later in the summer, it is now clear that will not be possible,” said Corene Gillis-Dorey, the town’s physical activity coordinator. “In the next few weeks, the Town of Port Hawkesbury recreation department will be working on alternate ways to celebrate this special day, while practicing social distancing.”

Organizers with Nova Scotia Summer Fest had hoped with performers hitting the stage late August – their second annual show would still be able to go on, but it has taken them nearly a month to reschedule everything for 2021.

They announced their cancellation on April 27, the day they were supposed to announce the supporting acts and launch their promotional campaign.

“Getting to this point was a serious amount of work but in the grand scheme of things, there are much bigger matters at play,” Ray Mattie told The Reporter. “It would be reckless to proceed and risk infecting our volunteers, production crews, musicians, ticket buyers and Antigonish in general. We couldn’t leave anything to chance.”

Mattie explained with the ever changing public health concerns relating to COVID-19 it was best to shift their focus to providing an amazing event in 2021.

“The impact of this cancellation was not taken lightly. We understand this will have a serious effect on local suppliers, partners, vendors, sponsors, community groups and attendees,” he said. “This cancellation also affects music industry professionals from across Canada such as our signed artists, production crews, managers, and agents.”

Staying in regular contact with all the participants early on, Mattie was also happy to announce the entire 2020 line up, which included Canadian Country Music Group of the Year Washboard Union, The Trews, Jimmy Rankin, Christine Campbell, Neon Dreams, Anna Ludlow, Cassie & Maggie, Myles Goodwyn and Ryan Cook will all be back to hit the stage next summer.

The new date for the second annual Nova Scotia Summer Fest is August 27 and 28, 2021. Ticket holders will be contacted and will have the option of a refund of to have their tickets validated for 2021.

“I am also thrilled to say that the vast majority of our ticket buyers have already validated their tickets for next year,” Mattie said. “In the meantime, let’s continue to follow the advice of our health authorities so that we can get through this as soon as possible.”