OSAC, Weyburn Concert Series cancels 2020-21 season

The 2020-21 season of concerts has been cancelled by the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC), of which the Weyburn Concert Series is a member, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OSAC announced they are working with the artists and their agent partners to try and reschedule the tour dates, and will monitor the situation to see if any possibilities will arise for communities to offer any concerts during the upcoming year.

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For the Weyburn Concert Series, they will be offering refunds to the over 600 subscribers who had season tickets, plus those who had tickets for the postponed Tenille Arts concert, which had been sold out, and the American Woman concert will also be able to get refunds.

(Shown above was one of the Weyburn Concert Series events, featuring Weyburn pianist Meagan Milatz and violinist Amy Hillis of Regina, along with a photo of Concert Series president Linda Aitken.)

Concert Series president Linda Aitken said this is the first time in their 51-year history they have ever had to cancel an entire year of performances.

“We had our best season yet coming up,” she said. “You certainly don’t take lightly a decision like this, but you have to be responsible. How would the Concert Series volunteers feel if at a performance, somebody got COVID-19?”

The future is unknown, added Aitken, as no one knows what the outcome will be in the coming months in regard to the pandemic.

“We have more questions than answers. We honestly don’t know how this is going to play out,” she said. “I think when this is all over, we’re going to have a ‘new normal’.”

The organization is hoping they can reschedule the lineup of performers for the next season, but this may prove difficult when an entire year’s concert lineup has been cancelled.

“The OSAC staff did not take lightly the decision to cancel the 2020-21 performing arts season, and it is a decision made with the full support of the OSAC board of directors,” said OSAC board chair Treena Redman.

Season ticket holders are being contacted about getting the refunds to them.

Those who had single tickets or advance tickets, they are being advised to mail the tickets to the Weyburn Concert Series, 1834 Warren Avenue, Weyburn, Sask., S4H 3B6, and a refund will be sent to them. The deadline for all refunds is Aug. 31, 2020.

“We’re looking forward to coming back next year with as wonderful a concert series as we can manage,” said Aitken.

“It is disappointing to have to cancel a season that had a record 179 performances booked throughout the province, but at the same time, it is the safe and reasonable thing to do,” said Skip Taylor, performing arts coordinator for OSAC.

“In many cases, the performances our presenters book are the only performing arts presentations that occur in their communities. It is sad to think those communities will miss out on that cultural and artistic impact. We are very hopeful we can get back to supporting our members and seeing these inspiring performances return to Saskatchewan communities in 2021,” he added.

Of all the communities involved with OSAC, Weyburn’s venue of the Cugnet Centre was one of the largest and best equipped facilities available for artists to perform in.