Richmond Folk Festival, 2nd Street Festival canceled due to COVID-19

Richmond Folk Festival, 2nd Street Festival canceled due to COVID-19
The 2020 2nd Street Festival, which is held annually in Jackson Ward, has been canceled due to COVID-19. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The 2020 Richmond Folk Festival and 2nd Street Festival have been canceled, according to a release from organizers.

Nonprofit Venture Richmond stated that it could not implement the necessary health precautions without “radically” changing the large-scale events.

“However, we do not believe it is responsible or in the best interest of our community to bring together tens, and even hundreds of thousands of individuals in very close proximity, with no ability to control attendee numbers, distancing, or to sufficiently enforce precautions,” the release stated.

Organizers said they are working to determine a “meaningful and safe” way to celebrate the festivals.

“We have not reached this decision easily,” the release stated. “We know that especially in these times of community isolation it’s important to come together and celebrate our shared culture and experiences, whether they are the rich traditions of the historic Jackson Ward community, or cultures from around the nation and the world presented on our downtown riverfront.”

The 2nd Street festival celebrates the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood and the area’s African American community. Nearly 40,000 people attend the festival in 2019 when it celebrated 31st year. Next year’s 2nd Street Festival is Oct. 2-3, 2021.

The Richmond Folk Festival has brought music from all over the world to Brown’s Island for longer than 15 years. Last year, the free event had a record-breaking crowd of 220,000 people. It is the largest folk festival of its kind in the U.S. Next year’s festival is scheduled for Oct. 8-10, 2021.

Venture Richmond is expected to announce more details regarding virtual celebrations, online children’s activities, a virtual marketplace, demonstrations, giveaways.

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