Music just can’t catch a break in 2021. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has been cancelled. The impetus: flooding from Hurricane Ida, which made landfall near Louisiana on Monday, and has been dumping heavy rainfall as it charts its path toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
“While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo [the main festival area] is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded to the point that we are unable to drive in or park vehicles safely,” a statement reads on the festival’s website. “We have done everything in our power to try to keep the show moving forward, but Mother Nature has dealt us a tremendous amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and we have run out of options to try to make the event happen safely and in a way that lives up to the Bonnaroo experience.”
The Manchester, Tennessee-based Bonnaroo was first held in 2002. The festival was cancelled in 2019 and 2020 due to COVID-19. Headliners for this year’s festival included Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizo, Tame Impala and Tyler, The Creator. An estimated 80,000 people were expected to attend.
More than a year after the coronavirus put the brakes on in-person concerts, bands were just beginning to get back out on the road when the delta variant arrived and slowed things down again. While artists and live music companies wrestle with how to gather their fans together safely, others have been cancelling shows or entire tours. Add significant weather events to the list of forces conspiring against music in 2021.
Locally, the Sing Out Loud Festival has been navigating requests from artists for stricter COVID precautions. Featuring more than 100 performers, the month-long festival kicks off September 10. You can read the JME team’s Sing Out Loud recommendations here.