Saturday, May 18, 2024

Crowds pack the jazz stage at the 2019 Cambridge Arts River Festival. This year’s festival has been canceled. (Photo: Greg Cook/Cambridge Arts)

The 2020 Cambridge Arts River Festival scheduled for June 6 has been canceled, said Jason Weeks, executive director of Cambridge Arts.

“Given the critical needs associated with flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that are currently in place for social distancing here in Cambridge and in the commonwealth, we believe this is the right and best decision, but still a very difficult one to make,” Weeks said in a statement online.

It would have been the 41st festival. The summertime-summoning event returned to Central Square last year, back from three years in East Cambridge, with food, crafts, multiple stages of live music, dance, poetry and theater, art and a new “Mermaid Promenade” along Massachusetts Avenue tying in with the event’s central theme of climate change. It drew more than 175,000 people, police learned from the Cambridge Arts Council Advisory Board.

Cambridge Arts expects the Cambridge Arts River Festival to return in June 2021, Weeks said.

The $20,000 that would have been used to produce this year’s festival has been contributed to the Cambridge Artist Relief Fund, based at the Cambridge Community Foundation, he said. In the coming weeks, Cambridge Arts plans to launch with Cambridge Community Television a “Cambridge Arts Stream Festival” to bring highlights planned for the 2020 River Festival online.

“We plan to feature art workshops, music, dance and theater performances, video art, food and art vendors, kinetic sculpture races and more,” Weeks said.