CHICAGO — The city has canceled five major events — including its famed Blues Fest.
Blues Fest, the House Music Conference and Festival, the Gospel Music Festival and the Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony have all been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The city also ditched plans to host Chicago in Tune, which was to be a new, 18-day celebration of music throughout the city, according to a Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events press release.
The events were to have been held in late May and early June. They regularly attract thousands of people — which officials want to avoid as they try to slow the spread of coronavirus in Chicago.
“These cancellations are disappointing to all of us here in Chicago, particularly for the countless individuals who worked so hard to organize an extraordinary Year of Chicago Music,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press release. “Nonetheless, these difficult but necessary steps were taken in order to ensure the health and safety of our residents and visitors, which continues to be our utmost priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“As upsetting as it is to remove these events from our calendar, we are already looking forward to next year where we’ll be pulling out all the stops for a festival season Chicago will never forget.”
Gov. JB Pritzker has said he thinks large events should be canceled this summer, but he hasn’t required that yet. Earlier this month, Lightfoot said it was too early to make decisions about summer festivals.
The city made the decision to cancel the events out of an “abundance of caution,” according to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The department advised other festival producers they should “continue to follow the public health guidance of the [Centers for Disease Control], city and state officials.”
The events were all part of the department’s Year of Chicago Music. Because of the cancellations, the city will now continue to celebrate the Year of Chicago Music in 2021.
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