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Newport Folk And Jazz Festivals Canceled Due To Coronavirus

The band Snarky Puppy playing at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2015.
Eva Hambach
AFP via Getty Images
The band Snarky Puppy playing at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2015.

On Wednesday, two storied, sibling American music festivals — the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival — announced that they are being canceled for 2020, due to coronavirus concerns. Each event is scheduled to return in the summer of 2021.

In a set of nearly messages, the executive director of the Newport Festivals Foundation, Jay Sweet, announced the cancellations. In a press release, Sweet said that "together with our local leaders and [Rhode Island] governor Gina Raimondo, we have concluded that at this time we risk too much in having a gathering of our size. "

Currently, all gatherings of more than five people are banned across the state. As of now, there is a stay-at-home order in place until May 8.

For both festivals, Sweet says, all artists who were invited to perform in 2020 have already been invited for the 2021 editions. He also promised that "we will all commune one way or another on our festival weekend[s]."

Both editions of Newport are among the most influential music festivals in the world and have produced historic, commercially released recordings.

In 2020, Newport Folk was scheduled for Jul. 30 to Aug. 2. Newport Jazz was supposed to take place Aug. 7 to 9. Both take place in Fort Adams State Park, along the Rhode Island seafront. The park was closed indefinitely on Apr. 3.

Fans who have bought tickets to either festival can receive a full refund, apply their purchase to 2021 tickets, or donate all or part of their purchase to the festivals' not-for-profit foundation.

NPR Music and Jazz Night in America (a co-production of NPR Music, member station WBGO and Jazz at Lincoln Center) have frequently partnered in the past with both the Newport Folk Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. The artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival, bassist Christian McBride, is also the host of the nationally distributed Jazz Night in Americaradio program.

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Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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