Carlsbad Music Festival To Return in 2021

by The Editors on June 27, 2020

In a June 27, 2020 letter to friends and supporters of the Carlsbad Music Festival Founder and Artistic Director Matt McBane lamented the cancelation of the 2020 festival and 17 consecutive years of music in Carlsbad and looked forward optimistically to 2021 when he says the festival will return.

After much creative brainstorming, discussion and reflection, we determined that with the pandemic and the restrictions in place, there was no way for our small organization to hold the Festival or alternative programming this summer. But don’t worry, we will be back in 2021! 

For the complete letter, please follow the jump.

Dear Friend,

We are saddened to announce the cancelation of our 2020 Carlsbad Music Festival. After much creative brainstorming, discussion and reflection, we determined that with the pandemic and the restrictions in place, there was no way for our small organization to hold the Festival or alternative programming this summer. But don’t worry, we will be back in 2021! 

This is the first time in 17 years–through the great recession and through all the turbulence of a grass roots start-up organization–that we have not put on an annual festival. For me personally, the Festival has been an annual part of most of my adult life since I founded it at age 24. So, it is not a decision we have made lightly. We hope that in the end, our organization will be stronger for this time off.

This is a difficult time for our organization and the financial challenges are very real. The Board has furloughed all of the staff (including me) to preserve our financial resources until we can start planning for our 2021 season. We are very grateful to the individuals, foundations, and government agencies that have supported us this year with grants and donations to help us get through this period without revenue. If you have the means to support the Festival, please consider a donation to help us restart operations in the Fall to deliver a great Festival in 2021.

My heart goes out to all those who have suffered during this pandemic, whether through loss of loved ones, illness, or financial hardship. One group in our community that has been hit especially hard financially are musicians, many of whom have lost nearly all their income. I encourage you to support them by buying (not streaming) their albums, and we’ve created a page on our website with links to purchase many Festival alumni’s albums directly.

The silver lining is that we plan to use this time off from presenting events to strengthen our organization and look at ways we can improve our Festival and other events for 2021. Also, we plan to use this time of cultural change to reflect on and make changes to our organization. While musical and cultural diversity is at the heart of our artistic mission, there is so much we can do to improve.

I hope that when we are all able to gather in large groups again, music can help heal and uplift our community, and deepen our cultural connections to one another. I can’t wait to share music with you again, whether it be marching along Carlsbad Boulevard to the brass band, relaxing on the St. Michael’s lawn, or seated in the pews at the Army Navy Chapel. I look forward to the day when we can bring the community together again to experience adventurous music by the beach.

See you in 2021!

Matt McBane

Founder and Artistic Director

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