KidFest latest festival to cancel due to latest COVID concerns

KidFest latest festival to cancel due to increasing COVID concerns

KidFest latest festival to cancel due to latest COVID concerns
KidFest, scheduled for Sept. 4-6, will not take place this year due to safety concerns over COVID-19.
KidFest producer Jay Bedecarré

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Aug. 22, 2021) — The number of large-scale outdoor festivals that usually fill the fall calendar has dwindled to just two in our area.

Over last weekend, both the 31st Bay Area KidFest in Concord and the 25th Lafayette Art and Wine Festival announced that the increasing health issues around the Delta variant of COVID-19 caused such concerns that they each decided to cancel their 2021 editions. Both organizations cited how positive they were just weeks ago about holding successful, safe events before having their thinking flip 180 degrees recently.

KidFest producer Jay Bedecarré says his company, Bay Area Festivals, produced Contra Costa Con indoors at the Hilton Concord July 18. The convention had record ticket sales and exhibitor registrations. Less than four weeks later he came up with more reasons not to hold KidFest, which hasn’t taken place since late May 2019, than to continue with final planning and arrangements for its Sept. 4-6 run in Concord.

“All of our attractions, exhibitors, performing groups, food and ride vendors, sponsors and small business exhibitors were so looking forward to returning to participate in something they love.” KidFest would have been the first large local outdoor festival since the state “reopened” June 15.

Among the star attractions scheduled for KidFest this year were Chase and Skye of PAW Patrol. Their major motion picture was opening around the world two weeks before, including locally at the Brenden Theatres.

Hard decisions

The Pittsburg Seafood Festival, Pleasant Hill Art & Wine Festival and three local Oktoberfest’s had all made decision earlier this summer not to hold 2021 events. A number of cities including Clayton (Summer Concerts in The Grove) and Concord (Music & Market Concert Series) are in the midst of abbreviated schedules of free summer concerts.

Splatter in Dublin Sept. 18 and the 85th Walnut Festival Sept. 23-26 in Heather Farm Park are still scheduled.

Lafayette Chamber of Commerce executive director Jay Lifson contacted his stakeholders last Friday. “It is with profound sadness that I report to you today – our Board of Directors had to make the tough call to cancel the 2021 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival. As you know, I have been working with all of you for months, hoping we would find ourselves in a position to produce our big event. Four weeks ago, I was so certain we were headed in the right direction, but COVID -19 does not care about festivals…”

Change in attitude

Lifson cited the inability to “to have the festival and be able to promise high safety standards” as the reason for the recent change in attitude. The Lafayette festival, the largest in the county, was slated for Sept. 18-19. The 49th Castro Valley Fall Festival set for Sept. 11-12 also recently canceled. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park set for Oct. 1-3 has also canceled.

The huge BottleRock festival in Napa Sept. 3-5 and Outside Lands in San Francisco Oct. 29-31 are both moving ahead as scheduled.

The next Concord KidFest has now rescheduled for Memorial Day Weekend of May 28-30, 2022. Lafayette has scheduled its 25th Lafayette Art and Wine Festival on Sept. 17-18, 2022.