UPDATED: Hopes for a 2020 edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival were dwindling after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s latest press conference on Tuesday — and now the fest has officially been canceled.
In response to a reporter’s question about the status of Jazz Fest as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic, Cantrell advised that all large gatherings be rescheduled for 2021.
“My recommendation is absolutely no large events such as French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, even Essence Festival, as it relates to the year 2020,” Cantrell said. “The focus should shift to 2021.”
The celebrated jazz festival, originally set for April 23 to May 3, was rescheduled for the fall on March 17.
In response to Cantrell’s guidance, Essence Fest canceled its 2020 festival entirely on Wednesday.
“We are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 Essence Festival of Culture live experience — and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021,” the festival announced via Instagram.
The Jazz Fest followed suit on Thursday, posting to its Instagram page that the festival will not occur in 2020.
View this post on Instagram
JAZZ FEST 2020 WILL NOT OCCUR 2021 FESTIVAL SET FOR APRIL 22 – MAY 2 With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably—and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community, including musicians, fans, participants, and staff—Jazz Fest 2020 will not occur this fall, as previously announced. This conclusion is made after much careful deliberation. It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize. We thank everyone for their patience as we have considered all of the matters necessary to making this difficult decision. That said, work has already begun on the presentation of next year’s Jazz Fest during its traditional springtime period. So save these dates: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell will take place April 22 – May 2, 2021. We hope to see you there. Until then, be safe! Note to Jazz Fest 2020 Ticketholders 2020 tickets will be valid for next year’s Jazz Fest. Purchasers of 2020 tickets will receive notification no later than April 22 regarding the refund process if they cannot attend in 2021. If you purchased tickets at the Smoothie King Center, please stay tuned to Festival social media platforms for refund information which will be posted in the next few days.
“Jazz Fest 2020 will not occur this fall, as previously announced. This conclusion is made after much careful deliberation,” the caption says. “It takes something truly momentous to interrupt a 50-year New Orleans tradition as special as the Festival, but we feel strongly that the most prudent course right now is to allow more time for the situation to stabilize.”
The lineup for the 51st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, announced in January, featured The Who, Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Lionel Richie, The Lumineers, Erykah Badu, The Beach Boys and Wu-Tang Clan.
John Prine, who died on April 7 from coronavirus-related complications, was also slated to play the festival.