Yankton’s Music at the Meridian summer concert series, which was initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now off officially until next year.
On its Facebook page, Music at the Meridian announced Monday the cancellation of all its 2020 musical offerings, adding that organizers are excited for next year’s concert series and have begun booking acts for 2021.
“Based on what our health-care professionals were saying, we (would) see our peak at the end of June or beginning of July. We wanted to help them and help our community by not adding to that, so we planned to start July 23,” Brittany LaCroix, events coordinator for the City of Yankton told the Press & Dakotan. “At that point, one of our bands in August had to cancel because of their tour (to our area) being cancelled.”
Since then, all the bands scheduled for August had to cancel either because their tours were canceled or were dramatically changed due to the novel coronavirus.
Planners thought about finding new talent for the series that aims to bring known folk, blues and bluegrass talent to the area.
“We tried to reach out to a few of the other booking agents we use and there just weren’t a lot of bands coming our way,” LaCroix said. “They’re either extremely expensive, or just (aren’t) quite what Music at the Meridian brings. It was more rock and pop, not what we at Music at the Meridian try to focus on.”
Organizers also considered bringing in more local talent, which was already planned for this summer as opening acts, not as headliners.
“Just having local music wasn’t ever the main concept of Music at the Meridian,” LaCroix said. “The draw was bringing in those regional, national and international acts to have a little bit of a different music scene than what you would typically see at an event here in Yankton.”
The idea to include local bands will be carried over to next year, she said.
“Honestly, our lack of bands for this year just due to the situation — a lot of them aren’t traveling, or their tours are being canceled,” LaCroix said. “We had August wiped out.”
Also, COVID-19 is still active in the area and just where that curve will be a month from now is still uncertain, she added.
“Keeping our staff, our volunteers, our musicians and our attendees all safe and healthy, and respecting their well-being, we decided that for this year it would be best if we just canceled and reserved next year,” LaCroix said. “I’ve reached out to a lot of the bands to see if they’re able to come back next year, and I’ve booked four of them already.”
Canceling an event is a difficult decision that no organizer wants to make, but the COVID situation has left many guessing as to what the right move is, she said.
“Come out next year,” LaCroix said. “I know, it’s a bummer when you can’t have events, but keeping together and staying strong for our community is really important right now.
“Then come back (next year) and support not only Music at the Meridian, but (also) all the events that have had to cancel this year.”