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Organizers pull plug on this year's Mariposa Folk Festival

COVID-19 cases, including new variants reported in area, contribute to decision to call off July's festival; 'We don’t want to be a super-spreader event,' official says
2019-07-04 Mariposa Folk Festival setup 2
The 2021 Mariposa Folk Festival has been cancelled. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters file photo

For the second year in a row, the Mariposa Folk Festival has been cancelled.

A month ago, Mariposa Folk Foundation president Pam Carter told OrilliaMatters organizers were planning for a full festival experience in 2021.

“It’s better to plan for a full festival and have to dial it back if we have to, rather than plan for a small one and then figure out we’re good to go,” she said at the time.

Soon after, it became clear that planning for a full festival — scheduled for July 9 to 11 — would be too risky.

“We were watching the rise in COVID numbers and the province going into lockdown. We were also watching the vaccine issues,” she said, adding it seems unlikely that enough people will be vaccinated, even by the fall.

“It’s not viable for an event that has thousands of people coming in over the course of a weekend.”

It’s also a financial risk to plan for a festival and then potentially have to pull the plug at the last minute, she added.

Safety of everyone involved is “of the utmost importance,” Carter said.

“We don’t want to be a super-spreader event, especially with the new (coronavirus) variants. They’re in Barrie, and that’s pretty close to us,” she said.

The board’s decision to cancel this year’s event was “absolutely a hard” one, she added.

Carter remains hopeful Mariposa will have some sort of presence this year, even if it’s by way of virtual concerts. Organizers are working on potential plans.

In a news release, festival artistic director Liz Scott said, “It was exciting building this lineup of amazing musicians and of course it’s disheartening that we won't be able to gather together to watch it all unfold, but when we do get back together in July 2022, everything will seem sweeter.”

Carter noted the Mariposa Folk Foundation “is strong, vibrant, financially sound and ready to gather in celebration as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The 2022 festival is scheduled to take place July 8 to 10 at Tudhope Park.

Those who purchased tickets for this year’s festival have the option to carry them over until the 2022 event. They can also receive a full refund, and they have the option of donating their ticket purchases back to the festival, which is a non-profit organization and a registered charity. Donations can also be made here.