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Seven summer festivals canceled due to pandemic

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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he novel coronavirus pandemic blew a few more holes in southeast Michigan's summer entertainment calendar with the cancelation of seven festivals on Wednesday, May 20.

Mount Clemens-based Funfest Events has scratched: the Westland Beer and Wine Festival, May 30; the St. Clair Beer and Wine Festival, June 6; Summerfest in Marysville, June 18-21; Stars & Stripes Festival, slated for Toledo, July 2-5; the Uncle Sam Jam in Woodhaven, July 9-12; and St. Clair Riverfest, July 24-26.

The company also canceled the Rocking on the Riverfront Concert Series held during July and August on the Detroit Riverfront behind the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

"We talked to all our partners, the municipalities, and they were really leery about doing them," says Funfest's Joe Nieporte. "We were totally with them." Nieporte adds that health and safety concerns were paramount, and the likelihood that the events would have reduce capacity created risky economic prospects.

"When we weighed everything, it just didn't make sense to do them," says Nieporte, who hopes to restore some if not all of the festivals during 2012.

Funfest still has two Fantasticon pop culture conventions scheduled, in Toledo on Aug. 22-23 (rescheduled from mid-March) and in Port Huron, moved from April to Nov. 21-22.

Funfest's announcement came on the same day as several more major outdoor concerts were canceled or postponed -- including Comerica Park dates by Billy Joel (moved from July 10 to next July 9) and the Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer, slated for Aug. 19 with a 2021 date TBD.

There's been no word yet on the disposition of other summer festivals such as Detroit's River Days and Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak, as well as the Detroit Jazzfest and the Movement Music Festival, the latter of which has already been moved from Memorial Day Weekend to Sept. 12-14.

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