23rd annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest (JAFF) cancelled
- Michelle Lerat | May 12, 2020
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Another event that drew crowds from across western Canada to Saskatchewan has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The 23rd annual John Arcand Fiddle Fest (JAFF) will not take place for the first summer since it began.
Vicki Arcand the executive director of JAFF says she and her husband John Arcand’s acreage is going to be very quiet this summer due to COVID-19.
“John and I both said several times,” said Arcand “It’s going to be a strange, quiet and lonely summer. We’re used to our acreage being used non-stop all summer long for all these rentals and we’re definitely going to miss seeing the people.”
Arcand said they started the season fully booked with events, weddings and reunions. Now due to COVID-19, every event under the roof has been cancelled. Besides JAFF the annual Highway 60 Market craft fair and the Giant Garage Sale and Flea Market are also cancelled this summer.
“It’s a means of self-generated income for our organization,” said Arcand. “Now every single one of [the events] has been cancelled. It’s just made us have an absolutely zero season period.”
Arcand says they’re already looking forward into next year thanks to funders that will continue to support and sponsor them during the cancellations.
“The fact that we're not done,” said Arcand. “Is due to several sponsors and funders that really we owe a debt of gratitude because they stuck beside us [and said] ‘that’s okay you can keep the money and use it for what you need to stay alive’ and that was really nice to find out.”
Arcand added they are exploring ways to celebrate JAFF through social media though it will be a learning curve. They hope to be able to reach some audience members who are on social media and would also like to support a few musicians who may be able to perform. She says they feel for the musicians who are unable to perform and whose livelihoods were also put on hold due to the pandemic.
“Were hoping to be able to replicate one or two pieces of the festival,” said Arcand. “To kind of acknowledge our sponsors and funders that stuck with us and to let the few people know hey we’re still here.”
Arcand says they are going to approach the 2021 season with cautious optimism. They are preparing for COVID-19 to have a lasting impact in terms of travel and gathering restrictions and an economic toll.
“I feel we’re planning to hit the ground running for 2021,” said Arcand. “But we’ll be very cautious in our planning because I feel that our numbers won't be up to where they were when [COVID-19] hit.”
Arcand says she will miss the connection and seeing the dedicated audience members and musicians who come out every year.
“I just want to remind ,” said Arcand. “Just please be safe, be careful, and we are coming back with a great show in 2021 and we look forward to seeing you then.”