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Norman Music Festival canceled due to concern for public safety amid rising COVID-19 cases

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Norman Music Fest logo 2020

Norman Music Alliance's logo for the 2020 Norman Music Festival, which was postponed, then canceled, due to COVID-19.

The Norman Music Alliance announced Wednesday it officially canceled the 2020 Norman Music Festival.

The decision was announced via Twitter that despite initial hopes for a future date, the concern for public safety pushed the NMA to cancel the festival this year.

“The original dates were postponed due to COVID,” said Shari Jackson, executive director of Norman Music Alliance. “We realized we couldn't safely put on the festival and invite 100,000 of our friends to downtown Norman.”

Jackson also said at first, NMA decided to wait for a better opportunity to host the festival.

“We didn't want to just outright cancel,” Jackson said. “We wanted to stay very hopeful that we would be able to withstand this virus, keep cases low and be able to do something in August.”

However, with cases of COVID-19 still rising in the state, NMA decided a large gathering of people was not feasible.

“It became clear to us a few weeks ago that putting stages up in the streets (and) inviting all of those folks to come play was probably not a good idea,” Jackson said. “Then we watched cases start to spike in the past week, and this led us to have a discussion about a couple of things: first, the safety of our fans. And second, the businesses that support us.”

The Norman Music Festival allows admittance at no cost and operates solely on donations from the community. Jackson also said every year, NMA accepts over $200,000 in donations to run the festival.

“The businesses that support us, the great partners that help us out are hurting, their businesses are suffering,” Jackson said. “We felt like trying to ask all of those folks for money right now — and potentially be a safety hazard to our community — was something we couldn't do.”

Despite the challenges, Jackson remained optimistic for the future of NMA.

“The organization has never done a program other than the Norman Music Festival,” Jackson said. “Maybe now it’s time to start.”

Christian Hans is a journalism junior at OU and news reporter for The Daily.

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