In a move with eerie parallels to early 2020, organizers for the 2021 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach, Florida, have postponed the event until next year. Originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend, the country music festival has been moved to June 3-5, 2022, and COVID-19 is once again the deciding factor.
Releasing a statement on Tuesday (August 10), festival organizers cite the “ongoing public heath emergency caused by the current growth of Covid-19 cases in Bay County, Florida and across the country.” COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are once again skyrocketing in Florida, fueled by the virus’ delta variant and vaccines skepticism.
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Fans who had already bought tickets can either keep them until the 2022 date arrives, or seek a refund starting next week, with more information at the Gulf Coast Jam website.
“Organizers encourage everyone to follow guidelines and protocols instituted by local public health officials,” the statement reads.
The disappointing news arrives just as country concerts have begun roaring back, with many of the genre’s biggest stars back on tour for the first time in more than a year. But even as fans enjoy the return of live music, warning signs have been growing. After a Garth Brooks stadium show was postponed due to inclement weather earlier this month, the superstar admitted that he and his team were not sure it could be rescheduled — or if the fall leg of his tour would even proceed.
Meanwhile, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam has not been known for being overly cautious when it comes to COVID-19. Back in 2020, the festival was one of the last to be postponed as the pandemic ramped up, with organizers hopeful the situation would resolve by the fall of that year. It was also one of the first festivals to welcome fans back, having just held its 2020 event in June of this year. Chris Stapleton, Brooks & Dunn and more are on the 2022 lineup.