With warming weather and more people outdoors, many are itching for something to do. But most summer festivals still don’t know whether they’ll be able to gather in person amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saskatoon has already seen some annual festivals have to move online for the second summer.
The Nutrien Children’s Festival of Saskatchewan announced Wednesday its lineup, after choosing to go virtual again.
Meanwhile, other festivals are still in limbo, including the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.
“Right now the hybrid model of a live and virtual festival is certainly a backup plan,” said artistic director Kevin Tobin.
“Going to an all-virtual festival, going to a virtual concert series [are other backups].”
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The festival said it plans to release its schedule “soon”, but it’s waiting to see whether it can have at least part of the festival in-person.
“We are not in the business of cancelling shows,” Tobin said.
“It’s about the show must go on but we have to do it, our number one priority is doing that safely.”
‘The numbers are leaning in our direction’
Some activates are going ahead — with limitations. Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen park opens May 9, with measures in place to follow health orders.
Other festivals are adjusting dates in the hopes of buying more time. For example A Taste of Saskatchewan has been pushed back a month to August.
“Moving it back a month, we should be very close to meeting provincial health guidelines which will allow us to have an event,” said SaskTel Centre’s executive director Scott Ford.
“The numbers and the projections from Health Canada and the provincial health authority are very positive in favour of us being able to host these events,” Ford said.
“When we’re looking at 50 per cent of the population being vaccinated the numbers are leaning in our direction.”
Saskatchewan lays out ‘roadmap’ in reopening from pandemic
On Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe said people need to continue to get vaccinated so a majority of the population is protected.
“When that happens we can start to ease the restrictions in our communities, we can start to get our lives back to normal and we can have a great Saskatchewan summer,” Moe said during a press conference.
The province added it expects “Blockbuster” supplies of vaccines in the coming months. It encourages everyone eligible to get one.