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Ontario's Boots and Hearts summer music festival cancelled amid COVID restrictions

TORONTO — Organizers of the country-fuelled Boots and Hearts music festival are pulling the plug on this year's summertime event.
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TORONTO — Organizers of the country-fuelled Boots and Hearts music festival are pulling the plug on this year's summertime event.

Republic Live announced Monday that ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario made it impossible to move forward with their plan to hold massive concerts less than four months from now.

Boots and Hearts is one of the province's biggest music festivals and was set to be held over the Aug. 5 weekend at the Burl's Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ont., about 30 kilometres north of Barrie.

Country music stars booked to perform included Dan + Shay, Sam Hunt and Eric Church.

Summer music festivals have been in a tough spot as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, making it uncertain whether any crowds will be able to gather by July and August.

Many of Canada's music festivals opted to forgo planning a 2021 season while others have dropped off the schedule, including RBC Bluesfest in Ottawa, and Country Thunder festivals in Craven, Sask. and Calgary.

A few festivals still remain on the schedule, among them the Calgary Folk Music Festival, which said it will be "cautiously optimistic and adaptable" this year, and Montreal's Osheaga Music and Arts Festival which said last week it was "too early to talk about our summer festivals at this moment as Montreal is still in a red zone."

Boots and Hearts festival organizers said they've booked the next four-day Boots and Hearts festival for Aug. 4, 2022.

Passholders for this year's Boots and Hearts will have a guaranteed ticket for the 2022 event at "the best price," Republic Live said, while details on full refunds will be sent to ticketholders by email this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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