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Summerset Music and Arts Festival cancelled again because of COVID-19

FILE: The Summerset Music & Arts Fesitval is moving to a different format for August 2020. (Courtesy Twitter/@summersetfestca)

For a second straight year, the pandemic has forced the cancellation of Fort Langley's Summerset Music and Arts Festival

It was supposed to be a three-day event near the end of August

An organizer tells NEWS 1130 the restart plan came too late for Summerset to go ahead in August

FORT LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) — What is supposed to be an annual music and arts festival in Fort Langley has been postponed a second straight year because of the pandemic.

One of the organizers, Paul Verhoeff, says B.C.’s newly-revealed restart plan came too late for Summerset to go ahead –as hoped– in August.

“With the total uncertainty of what was going to be happening, we were not able to … do a large-scale music festival like we did in 2019. Our 2020 event, of course, was cancelled and now our 2021 event was cancelled.”

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He says, three smaller-scale concerts –in the works for late August or early September– include one in Fort Langley, another in the Okanagan and a third at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Lower Mainland… with up to 250 spectators allowed into each show.

“Which allows us to do some concert-style –we did last year, as well– we called them Summerset Sundays and that was for, at that time, it was only 50 people. We did a very small intimate setting with some very good local talent and those were very well-received.”

The president of Red Door Events is pleased the restart plan –which was unveiled Tuesday by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier John Horgan makes it possible for other smaller-scale events to go ahead after Canada Day, but Verhoeff also says his team is prepared for those shows to get shut down if there’s a fourth wave of COVID-19.

“That would be very unfortunate, but if it is, it is, right? There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s out of our control. We’ve seen now with the vaccines, not only in Canada, but around the world, cases are dropping significantly and we have no reason to believe that won’t happen here. People will feel very safe to go out in public.”

He adds no decision has been made whether anyone showing up at the three events planned for later in the summer will be expected to wear a mask or show proof they’re fully vaccinated.

Last year’s three-day festival had to be cancelled after plans to set it up as a drive-in event were not approved by public health officers.