COVID-19 forces the cancellation of Ottawa Bluesfest for the second straight year

For the second straight summer, the COVID-19 pandemic will silence the Ottawa Bluesfest stages at LeBreton Flats.

Executive director Mark Monahan announced organizers "are not going to be able to proceed" with the popular festival in July.

"We’ve been working hard at trying to figure out a way to put on this year’s event, but we’ve simply run out of time, so we’re just going to have to move on," said Monahan in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Monahan adds "the good news" is that Rage Against The Machine, the original headliner of the 2020 festival before it was cancelled, will headline the 2022 festival on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Anyone who kept their 2020 ticket for 2021 event will be eligible for a full refund. Rage Against The Machine ticket holders are being encouraged to keep their tickets for 2022.

Current ticket holders will receive an email from Front Gate Tickets within the next 24 hours with further details about 2022 ticket options.

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest was cancelled last July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and restrictions preventing large gatherings in Ottawa and across Ontario.

Several musical acts scheduled to perform at Ottawa Bluesfest in 2020 were already rescheduled for 2021, including Billy Talent, Blink-182, Blue Rodeo, Jack Johnson, July Talk and Lil Tecca.

"Last year, when we announced the cancellation of the 2020 event, it was hard to be optimistic. The pandemic blindsided us and we weren’t sure what we were getting into," said Monahan in a statement.

"With vaccines rolling out, Health Authorities expect most people to be vaccinated by the end of this year, so the prospects for 2022 are quite promising."

Sales of passes for the 2022 festival will resume on Thursday.

"There are many exceptional acts that are showing interest in touring in 2022 and taking part in the RBC Bluesfest," said Monahan.

"This is very encouraging. We are working on the 2022 lineup right now, in preparation for one of our best years ever."