News

Sled Island 2020 Cancellation

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It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, scheduled to take place June 24-28. This decision was based on a number of considerations including travel restrictions issued by several countries where some of our scheduled artists are from, travel restrictions announced by the Government of Canada, the announcement by City of Calgary on April 3rd, 2020 that “all festivals and events in Calgary with an audience of 50 people or more, must be canceled or postponed” as well as the order from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health prohibiting the gathering of persons in excess of 15 people in a group. As a result of these unfortunate developments, the scheduled events can no longer take place and our wonderful artists are unable to perform.

While this news obviously comes as a huge disappointment, we would like to acknowledge and applaud that the City is taking this necessary step to contain the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate the pressure on our health care system to best care for those affected by it. 

We also understand that this doesn’t just affect our organization, but countless others in the city, and would like to extend our condolences to those organizations that are likewise struggling with today’s news. Perhaps most devastating to us is knowing the impact that these cancellations will have on our beloved community: the venues, artists, crews and partners who have all already been hit so hard by this crisis. We are committed to working hard for this community’s recovery, leveraging our energy, networks and resources to ensure that it returns stronger than ever.

Unfortunately, the scope and nature of our festival make it impossible for us to simply postpone the event until later in the year (to learn more, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions below). However, we have every intention of returning in June 2021 and are committed to supporting our community to the best of our abilities in the meantime. 

We will be issuing refunds to all pass and ticket holders requesting them and will be contacting everyone shortly with details on how to proceed. Alternatively, to those whose personal situation allows, we humbly ask that you consider transferring your pass to the 2021 festival or donating the cost of your pass or individual ticket(s) to Sled Island in exchange for a charitable tax receipt. Keeping the festival alive is a precarious endeavour under the best of circumstances, and we expect the fallout of the pandemic to affect our revenue significantly in the year to come.

Stay safe, stay home, stay hopeful, friends.

The Sled Island Team


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why don’t you just postpone the event?

Unfortunately, due to the immense size of the festival and limited financial and human resources available to Sled Island, postponing simply isn’t an option for us. With just three full-time staff, the festival is an ambitious undertaking each year even with 12 months of artistic, funding, sponsorship, marketing and logistical planning and development, and unfortunately, simply choosing new dates doesn’t change the workload needed to make the festival happen and doesn’t allow all work previously completed to simply transfer over.

Sled Island is different than many summer music festivals in that it doesn’t take place on a single outdoor site, but in 30+ venues across Calgary. While this setup has always been something we’ve considered a strength of the festival, ensuring that we offer not just intimate spaces for artists and audiences to connect, but also that we showcase many parts of Calgary that even long-time residents are unaware of, in this instance, it’s also the source of a lot of big question marks. Many of our longest running venues are currently facing harsh economic realities and the question as to which will still be able to open their doors in the fall looms large. For those venues that do re-open, it is unclear if they will be required to run at 1/2 or less capacities or when small social gatherings will even be allowed in the first place. We simply don’t know when it would be safe to postpone to.

Beyond that, pass and ticket sales and sponsorship has all but evaporated since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the festival is not confident in assuming that those losses could be made up should the festival be allowed to go forward in the fall. The economic uncertainty is just too great at this point.

If we were to try to put all of our effort into running a scaled-back 2020 edition of the festival at a later date, one thing we know for sure is that doing so would not allow us to put on a festival in 2021 that is of the quality and scope we have come to expect.

As such, we are committed to using our energy and resources to not just returning in 2021, but to helping our community as best we can in the meantime.

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Support Sled Island 2020 Artists Through Bandcamp's COVID-19 Initiative

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Friends, if your current situation allows, today we ask you to consider purchasing some music or merch directly from the many musicians who have seen their livelihood and creative outlet decimated by the current pandemic. Bandcamp, an organization that genuinely values artists, will be forgoing their revenue share from all sales until midnight tonight, March 20th. If you've been holding off buying an album from one of your favourite artists, or have seen friends have to cancel tours, please do consider choosing today as the day to buy from them.

Below is a list of Bandcamp links for the artists confirmed for the 2020 edition of the festival. While the Sled Island community is large, with thousands of bands having showcased over the years, we know that we represent an extremely tiny fraction of the overall industry that is hurting so much right now. Remember, staying at home doesn't mean you can't be discovering a whole new world of music.

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Sled Island 2020: COVID-19 Update

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We have been receiving inquiries regarding the potential impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the upcoming edition of the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival, scheduled on June 24-28, 2020.

At this time, we are continuing with our preparation and planning to deliver the festival as scheduled, but we are monitoring the situation closely, both locally and internationally.

The safety of our festival attendees and participants is our number one priority and we will, of course, follow the guidance of health professionals and public officials. While the Alberta government has declared a state of emergency and banned events of over 50 people, no one currently knows how the situation will evolve and what restrictions might be in effect come June. We have been involved in briefings with representatives from the City and Tourism Calgary and experts from Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and Alberta Health Services, and we will continue to watch the situation as it develops and make thoughtful decisions accordingly.

Our usual policy regarding ticket and festival passes is that they are non-refundable, however, we recognize that these are exceptional circumstances. If there is a need to re-schedule or suspend any activities this year due to COVID-19, we will issue refunds to ticket and pass buyers requesting them.

We encourage you to visit the websites of Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta for resources and latest updates on COVID-19.

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