Riverfront Jubilee cancelled for 2020

Community COVID-19 Featured Online First

NEW GLASGOW – There will be no live music on the Glasgow Square stage this year with the cancellation of the annual Riverfront Jubilee.

The board of directors have announced the 2020 event – which was scheduled to take place July 31-August 2 – will not take place due to uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

“Music is something that brings us together. In Pictou County, the Jubilee is the event that does just that: it brings people together and brings people home. Patron safety is always a top priority for our board; it is a disappointing yet necessary decision we needed to make,” says Janine Linthorne  Riverfront Jubilee volunteer board of directors chairperson.

“This is particularly disheartening as we were planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary this summer. We held off announcing our lineup due to the unknowns of what COVID-19 would bring; however, this is the right choice for our patrons, volunteers, performers and supporters.”

Because this year’s event would mark a milestone for the Jubilee, a lineup fitting the occasion was planned to delight and entertain the thousands of people who turn out to enjoy the music.

“But because of our contracts we are actually not allowed to say who we had booked,” explains Jill George, director of marketing for the Riverfront Jubilee.

For the past month, the board has been working to exit the signed contracts with the agencies representing the artists who were booked. “Because we will be working with these agencies again we wanted to do that in a way that was mutually beneficial for everyone,” George explains. “We wanted to make sure everything was done in a way in which we could keep those relationships intact and making sure that we took the right steps along the way.”

The Jubilee board of directors was not comfortable in merely postponing the event because of the uncertainty around the duration of pandemic. In addition, there are multiple open-ended travel restrictions between provinces and the Jubilee relies not just on local support, but regional support for patrons, vendors and artists alike.

“In addition, the nature of the location of the festival gives us a small window to be able to postpone,” George explains. “As this is an outdoor festival, the board of directors recognized that postponing into fall 2020 is not likely possible based on restrictions being lifted for large scale events and if it were, weather co-operation would be unlikely.”  

In addition to fans making the festival successful, the Jubilee relies heavily on the local business community which, like many businesses in the Nova Scotian and Canadian economy, are under financial pressure due to the health pandemic.

“The stress on the economy has been felt in Pictou County and the Jubilee board felt they were not in the position to ask sponsors and supporters to make donations or offer services, when many of these businesses have needed to change operational behaviours or close in the face of COVID-19,” George says.  

While the live music will not be heard this year, there are still ways to support the Jubilee and one of them is to support Canadian music artists, another is to support the local businesses that support the Jubilee.

“Hundreds of volunteers work hard each year to ensure the festival is the best it can be for the patrons attending. In the future, consider volunteering with our great volunteer team for the festival weekend,” George encourages.

To make a monetary donation or for more information on sponsoring the event in the future, email board.jubilee@gmail.com.  

Ticket packages purchased during Christmas 2019 will be honoured at the next Riverfront Jubilee or patrons can request a refund by emailing board.jubilee@gmail.com 

Once it becomes clear how the economy will bounce back from this pandemic, the Jubilee board of directors will release a statement about the 2021 festival.

In the meantime, patrons can follow the Riverfront Jubilee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by visiting thejubilee.ca. Visit the Jube’s website to view a list of FAQs.