by Antonia Ayres-Brown read the original article here.
During a typical summer, the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival draw tens of thousands of fans to Fort Adams State Park for two weekends of live music. But last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel both events.
Governor Dan McKee has renewed hope for 2021, saying “there will be music in Newport this summer.”
McKee said this summer’s events will be different from festivals of years past, however, and may involve new restrictions and safety protocols, like COVID-19 testing.
Erin Donovan-Boyle, the executive director of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement is a relief to Newport business owners.
“Our festivals over the course of the summer produce about a $70 million economic generation, so being able to move forward with them is a wonderful thing for the state, for the region, and for the local business community,” she said.
Donovan-Boyle said many business owners support the new restrictions and requirements to carry out the festivals.
“That’s how we’re going to get consumer confidence up,” she said. “So that people feel, ‘Okay, I am ready to participate in a larger-scale event because I know that safety precautions are going to be in place.’”
In a statement Thursday, the Newport Festivals Foundation, which runs both the Folk Festival and Jazz Festival, said it is working to “set a benchmark for safety and transparency through our protocols and communication.”
Organizers are rushing to plan with state and local officials, and expect to release more details in the coming weeks.
“Though Newport Folk and Newport Jazz won’t look exactly the same, we are thrilled to be bringing music and artists back to the Fort,” the Festivals Foundation wrote.