Visit Oxford and City of Oxford announce cancellation of popular spring festival for second year due to COVID
Due to ongoing restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and with continued concerns for the safety and health of all involved, the Double Decker Arts Festival will not occur in its traditional form on April 23–24, 2021. The Double Decker Arts Festival, Visit Oxford and the City of Oxford are committed to celebrating food, music, and arts in different ways that will benefit the community, in a safe manner.
The decision to cancel is based on the nature of the event, which draws tens of thousands of people to the downtown Square for concerts, shopping, and arts all within one weekend. This is the second year in a row that festival organizers have had to cancel the annual event.
Currently, the Mississippi Governor has issued an executive order that limits the number of people allowed to gather. Executive Director of Visit Oxford, Kinney Ferris said, “While we know that these executive orders and restrictions may change between now and April 23, we don’t feel that there will be enough of a shift to allow us to host an event of this magnitude, safely. We do feel it best to support other events throughout the community that are of a smaller scale that can promote our unique food, music, and arts scene.”
The 25th anniversary of the Double Decker Arts Festival was originally scheduled to take place April 24–25, 2020, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, festival organizers tried to postpone to August 14–15, 2020. As the pandemic continued, the production team was forced to cancel the 2020 festival altogether.
While organizers hoped that the original dates of April 23–24, 2021 would still hold true, guidance from emergency management, City and State leadership and feedback from festival organizers worldwide, proved that it would not be safe to host such a large event. Music festivals and large-scale events are still deeply impacted by the pandemic exemplified by the cancellation of the 2021 Beale Street Music Festival as well as the postponement of the 2021 New Orleans Jazz Festival and the 2021 Hangout Fest.
Double Decker Arts Festival Coordinator, Lee Ann Stubbs said, “We all are eager to gather together again and celebrate all that Oxford offers. The health of the public, as well as that of the people who work together to pull off this celebration, remain the top concern and have guided us to this decision. With musicians not touring as normal, crowds not allowed to gather and the rollout of the vaccine still in the beginning phase, we felt that we could not deliver the experience that fans have grown accustomed to with Double Decker. We want the 25th anniversary to be the biggest and best yet, and we will plan for just that in Spring 2022.”
Working alongside the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the Double Decker Arts Festival and Visit Oxford will continue to host more outdoor, smaller events similar to “Tunes Around Town,” “Sounds on the Square,” and “Holly Jolly Holidays.” As the world waits for large celebrations to resume, plans for smaller pop-up events will be announced in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned for more information as these events come to fruition!