As reported in the Sarnia-Lambton County This Week on June 29, 2020.
Concerts scheduled for June 19 and 20 – part of a mental-health department fundraiser at Bluewater Health – have been postponed.
The LiUNA Block Party concerts featuring The Trews and Walk Off the Earth were pushed respectively to Sept. 11 and 12 as physical-distancing measures and emergency closures continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that things change daily with respect to social distancing and rules and regulations, so we are planning as if we’re going ahead for September; but also very realistic that that date may change yet again,” said Bluewater Health Foundation executive director Kathy Alexander.
Many who’d already purchased tickets opted for refunds Monday, she said. Others bought tickets for the September show.
At least one of the concerts had been on pace for a sellout, Alexander said.
Ticket holders can also use their June tickets for the September show, or donate their tickets’ value to the Bluewater Health Foundation for a tax receipt.
Refunds and donations can be completed on or before June 1 at bwhf.ca/form/LiUNA-Block-Party-Ticket-Refund-Request. Ticketholders with questions can contact email@example.com.
A Block Party concert featuring the Trews last year sold out with 2,000 attendees and raised $60,000. The annual event started in 2016 on Davis Street to raise money for mental health via Dan Edwards’ Do it for Sarnia campaign. Plans were announced in late 2019 to expand this year to two 2,500-person-capacity nights.
Meanwhile, all community events until July, including Sarnia’s annual Canada Day festivities, may soon be cancelled.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the timing for that announcement has been discussed a number of times by the city’s primary control group.
The announcement by the Bluewater Health Foundation was not a primary control group decision, he said.
In London on April 27, it was announced big annual events, including Sunfest and Rock the Park, would be cancelled until 2021. The Stratford Festival also announced its season was on hold.
“The big question is ‘Do you postpone to the fall, or do you look at 2021?’ said Tourism Sarnia-Lambton executive director Mark Perrin, also organizer of the July 23-25 Bluewater Borderfest.
There are backup plans in the works should that music festival need to be postponed, he said.
“But realistically, some of the advice coming out is that, if things get cancelled for (July) and August, they might also be cancelled for the fall,” he said.
Provincially, the current recommendation is to postpone or cancel events in May and June, he said.
“Normally 45 days out” is when to make the call, he said.
Golf Fore Health , another Bluewater Health Foundation fundraiser that’s scheduled for June 4, hasn’t been postponed or cancelled yet, but a decision was expected within a few days, Alexander said.
“We know we’re not alone in this boat of special event cancellations,” she said, noting the foundation is trying to be prepared to proceed, postpone or cancel as needed.
No decision has been made yet about Sarnia Kinsmen Ribfest, planned for Father’s Day weekend in Canatara Park, said Jack Struck, an organizer with the Kinsmen Club.
“We have some tentative dates to move ahead but, if the government is not going to open to the public, then we’ll cancel for next year,” he said.
Even if events rescheduled for the fall open up, getting people to attend and spend money could be a problem, given the economic hardship many are facing, he said.
“You’ve got to look at the reality of the whole thing too.”