FOLLOWING further indoor event bans, the 2020 Canberra International Music Festival has been cancelled despite the artistic director, Roland Peelman, being optimistic earlier in the week.
The festival’s cancellation, which was supposed to run from May 1-10, was was announced today (March 18) following the extended nation-wide ban to indoor events of more than 100 people.
In light of the extended nation-wide bans several festival partners have withdrawn their venues from the festival program, including pre-festival events scheduled to run at the ANU’s Kambri, now affected by the ANU’s decision to cancel events on campus until the end of June.
Board chair Bev Clarke says: “Travel restrictions make it impractical for our international artists to travel to the Australia for the festival… We have concerns for the welfare of our indigenous artists from remote communities… [And] the health, safety and wellbeing of our audiences, musicians, staff, volunteers and the general public is what matters most.”
She said the board would be thinking about creative ways to bring music back to the community later in the year.
Peelman says: “In Italy people are singing from their balconies. A country brought to its knees by this nasty virus still finds the strength to sing together against all odds. Here in Australia, our birds sing as raucously as they ever did – probably with some gratitude for the fresh rain.”
He says that while the festival was totally in the hands of the community, musicians were particularly vulnerable during this period because of the nature of casual employment, but that “in the end, music will prevail… always.”
The Canberra International Music Festival office will be in contact with patrons who have already purchased tickets to let them know how they can have their tickets refunded.