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Utah festivals get delayed or canceled, groups say stay home now to make sure summer isn't ruined

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Posted at 10:31 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 14:09:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of Utah's most popular festivals and events are being delayed or canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Living Traditions Festival, which usually kicks off the summer in Salt Lake City, is being moved to September. The Salt Lake Arts Council, which stages the annual event, announced the postponement in a statement Wednesday.

"During this difficult and unprecedented time, the health and safety of you, your families, and the wider community is of the utmost importance to the Salt Lake Arts Council," the group said. "Following the directives of the State, County, and City Officials, the Arts Council will postpone the May 2020 Living Traditions Festival. We have tentatively scheduled the Festival for the weekend of September 18th, 2020 and will provide updates and information as the rescheduled dates are confirmed."

The Utah Pride Center, which puts on the annual LGBTQ Pride Festival in June, has also delayed the annual parade until September.

The Utah Arts Festival, which takes place at the end of June, announced it has no plans to move forward with the event this year. Instead, it planned to return in 2021.

"Delaying the Festival until the late summer or early fall isn’t as easy as it might seem. There are many moving parts, many people and many factors to consider," festival executive director Lisa Sewell said in a statement posted on the group's website. "The option was evaluated thoroughly, but ultimately uncertainty about availability of artists, vendors, partners and volunteers, as well as the developing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic raised more concerns than solutions. For that reason, we believe it is in the best interest of all involved to postpone the event to 2021."

The Utah Cultural Alliance, an advocacy group for the arts and culture in the state, has braced for a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic. The group has estimated cultural organizations have already taken a $29 million hit and thousands of jobs are at risk. The group has pushed for inclusion in economic recovery packages the state advances.

The pandemic has the potential to cancel or delay more summertime events. A number of arts groups sent an email to supporters urging them to follow health guidelines to "save the summer." The email was sent with the support of Utah's Department of Heritage & Arts.

"What you do over the next few weeks can either help or hinder the return of some of your favorite events this summer and fall," an email from Pioneer Theatre Co. said. "By following some simple guidelines you may help save summer and fall fun for the Wasatch Front and all of Utah."

See the email from arts and entertainment groups here: