We regretfully announce today the postponement of the 25th anniversary Ashkenaz Festival to 2021. We have arrived at this decision through ongoing consultation with our venue partner, Harbourfront Centre, and in alignment with the recommendations of Toronto Public Health, Public Health Ontario, and Health Canada, as well as the Government of Ontario’s recently announced roadmap for safely reopening the province. Under this guidance, large-scale gatherings such as ours will clearly not be able to take place as planned this summer.
The next Ashkenaz Festival is now officially re-scheduled for August 31 to September 6, 2021. These new festival dates align with more conservative estimates as to when major live events will once again be possible, giving us optimism that we will be able to proceed with the festival at that time.
In the meantime we are contemplating new approaches to executing our mission. Over the last month we co-presented two well-attended and highly-reviewed online programs. These inaugural virtual events have helped us clarify some key principles that will guide our future efforts:
- Musicians and performing artists are key to our mission, and they are among those most highly impacted, economically, by this crisis. We are committed to helping artists and arts workers sustain their careers during this challenging period, by advocating for their interests and providing professional compensation for their work;
- We remain committed to the highest professional production standards. Quality will always take primacy over quantity in our virtual content;
- Partnerships will remain central to our approach in order that our online programs will reach the largest possible virtual audiences;
- Our digital efforts will be a complement to our usual work and mission and we will return to live presentation and in-person communal experiences when the time is appropriate.
So, what can you do to help? First, we urge you all to please continue abiding by the most current public health and safety regulations. With solidarity and collective resolve we can together prevent more death and suffering, and hasten a return to some kind of normal in which live music and community experiences may be possible. Second, please be sure to follow us on our social media pages if you don’t already so that you can stay abreast of our most current developments and program announcements. Click these links to find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please mark our new 2021 Festival dates in your calendar.
Finally, please consider a tax deductible charitable donation to Ashkenaz at this time. We rely on private donations for over half of our total operating revenues. Your support will provide critical resources to help keep artists and art workers employed, while ensuring the health and efficacy of our organization. Though we recognize there are many urgent health and well-being causes requiring support right now, we know that music and the arts are critical to maintaining community and social connection amidst the isolation and distance of these times. For the Jewish community, it is especially vital in tough times to celebrate our shared culture, identity and resilience, and to engage youth, seniors and culturally-diverse audiences in meaningful artistic experiences. This is just what we hope to do over the coming year, providing hope, connection and inspiration at a critical time.
Thank you all, stay safe, stay sane….and stay tuned!