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Coronavirus Leads St. Kitts to Postpone Music Festival

COVID-19 has led to a postponement of one of the Caribbean’s most successful music festivals. St. Kitts re-scheduled the 24th annual St. Kitts Music Festival, originally slated for June 24 to 28, 2020, to June 23 to 27, 2021 “to protect its citizens, residents, visitors and the integrity of the Music Festival,” as the tourism-reliant nation confronts coronavirus’ spread.

“The Music Festival has allowed us to promote our St. Kitts brand over the summer months,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, minister of tourism, in a statement Friday. “We are confident it will remain a cornerstone of our annual marketing and branding activities in the years to come. However, after careful consideration, we chose to postpone it until 2021.”

Dual-island St. Kitts and Nevis closed its borders on March 25 in an attempt to stem the COVID-19 virus’ spread. One day later health authorities today confirmed two coronavirus cases in St. Kitts.

The Music Festival proved a strong visitor draw for St. Kitts during the summer, traditionally a slow tourism period for many Caribbean countries. Last year “was the second in a row we saw a significant increase in air arrivals and attendance with system-wide air arrivals increasing seven percent for June 2019 as compared to June 2018,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

The festival drew “nearly 30,000 attendees over the three-night event,” Brown said, and “is now achieving the goals that were established for the event to drive and support ‘heads in beds’ for our tourism industry in June,” added Grant.“The Music Festival has allowed us to promote our St. Kitts brand over the summer months. We are confident it will remain a cornerstone of our annual marketing and branding activities in the years to come.”

Travelers who previously purchased tickets online “will be protected and their purchases will either remain valid or can be refunded,” said St. Kitts Tourism officials. The festival’s 2020 lineup included Gladys Knight, Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond, Wizkid, Koffee and Chronixx.

“While it was a difficult decision to make, we have postponed the St. Kitts Music Festival to protect the health and safety of all visitors, citizens and residents as well as the integrity of the St. Kitts Music Festival brand,” said Damion Hobson, the festival’s chairman. “We look forward to delivering another epic three nights of performances in 2021.”

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