In a heavy-hearted statement, organizers of the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival, scheduled for this summer in Rhode Island, announced that the 2020 events have been canceled due to “the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve unpredictably and in accordance with state guidance on large gatherings.”
The lineup for the Folk fest included Brittany Howard (pictured), The National, Randy Newman, Drive-By Truckers, Waxahatchee, Nathaniel Rateliff, Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird, Sharon Van Etten, Grace Potter, Ed O’Brien, Mandy Moore with Taylor Goldsmith and Mike Viola, Sylvan Esso and Black Pumas, among many others. Last year’s edition featured a surprise performance by Dolly Parton.
The Jazz Festival had Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis and Diana Krall on tap for August 7 to 9. Angelique Kidjo was also slated to lead a tribute to Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light” album.
The festivals are offering the option of a 100% full refund or to apply that amount to the 2021 edition as part of a “Revival Membership.”
Said executive producer Jay Sweet: “As devastating as it is to write these words, it’s balanced with a renewed sense of, well, HOPE. It’s Rhode Island’s motto for good reason, and it’s also the feeling our festival family, constantly exudes when we come together in good times and perhaps more importantly, in difficult times as well. This community is truly unlike any other in music, and I believe we can emerge from this adversity stronger and more connected than ever before.”
The festivals are operated as by the non-profit Newport Festivals Foundation, which also counts philanthropic work to music communities in its mission statement and is encouraging donations to help ensure that the show goes on next summer.
Newport Jazz Festival has been held annually at Fort Adams State Park since 1954 and the Folk fest since 1959. Outside of 1961 and 1962, when Newport Folk took a two-year break, the event has never been called off. Created by George Wein, they are two of the longest running music festivals in the U.S.
Sweet added that all announced artists have been invited back for 2021.