GR's 'Festival of the Arts' latest tradition to cancel amid COVID-19 pandemic
For the first time in 50 years, the City of Grand Rapids’ annual Festival of the Arts will not take place as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow across the state. It’s another sign of the unprecedented times that West Michigan--and the world-- finds itself in, as the festival has been cancelled for the first time since 1969 amid the COVID-19 pandemic--that to date, has claimed the lives of thousands worldwide, including the first confirmed death in Michigan on Wednesday.
“We made this decision on so many numerous factors, and yet, gosh, it’s a beloved legacy of the community,” Festival of the Arts Executive Director David Abbott said. “So of course, there is a lot of disappointment.”
The festival had been set for early June, and Abbott says he’s frustrated by those who say it’s too early to call it off, citing the months of planning required each year to put it on, and the inability to gather as an organization currently during the coronavirus pandemic.