MARQUETTE — One of Marquette’s most popular annual music festivals has officially been canceled for this year.

The 2020 Marquette Area Blues Fest will not go on as originally planned due to the COVID–19 crisis.

Marquette Area Blues Society president Mark Hamari says the cancelation is in the best interest of the health and safety of everyone involved, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

“Our main priority was the concern for the safety and health of our attendees, our volunteers, the artists, and ourselves,” Hamari said. “The sponsors, so many of them are undergoing financial hardships right now and you don’t know where they’re going to be in a couple months. And you’re wondering if people are going to have the money to shell out to attend the festival or if people are going to want to be traveling. Are people going to volunteer? There’s just so much uncertainty and fluidity in this situation.”

With Blues Fest and so many other live performances being canceled, Hamari encourages would–be attendees to support their favorite artists in other ways. There are plenty of options for supporting musicians virtually until live music can return.

“We would hope that our fans would support their local favorites, their national favorites,” said Hamari. “Anything you can do to help them out, because they’re suffering as well. It’s a really tough time for them. So if they’re having an online show, check it out and throw a few dollars in their virtual tip jar, buy their music online or buy CDs, merchandise, or t–shirts. Whatever you can do to help them out, they would really appreciate it because they’re struggling. There are no gigs anywhere for anybody right now, so it’s tough all over.”

All tickets purchased in advance for this year’s Blues Fest will be honored at next year’s event, and the Board of Trustees says that the slated headlining artists have expressed interest in performing next summer as well.

The Blues Society is looking forward to the return of the Marquette Area Blues Fest in 2021.

More information about the Blues Society and next year’s festival can be found on the Marquette Area Blues Society or Facebook page.