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Vermont’s Waking Windows cancels 2020 festival, locks in 2021 dates

Photo by Ben Stas for Vanyaland

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One of the things we were looking forward to the most in 2020 was this year’s Waking Windows, the annual Vermont music and arts fest around the city of Winooski that continues to be one of the more enjoyable weekends on the festival circuit. But due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, organizers on Wednesday (March 18) revealed they are cancelling the May 1 to 3 gathering and focusing attention to a full return to form in 2021.

“Last week, we still had hopes that May 1-3 would be far enough away, but alas, the world does not seem to be going in that direction,” the festival team states. “On Monday, the CDC strongly suggested we avoid congregating in groups larger than ten people until May 10, and after hearing the State of Vermont echo that sentiment, and after talking with our friends at the City of Winooski, we concluded that Waking Windows 2020 was an impossibility.”

A few weeks back, Waking Windows unveiled its initial lineup, headlined by Future Islands and Japanese Breakfast, and featuring Vundabar, The Nude Party, Rough Francis, Ratboys, Dehd, JAW GEMS, Molly Sarle, Habibi, and several others. Hopefully some of that talent can return for the ’21 edition.

Read the festival’s full statement below.

To all our supporters: we have unfortunately come to the realization that we will not be able to move forward with this year’s Waking Windows Music & Arts Festival in downtown Winooski. 

Last week, we still had hopes that May 1-3 would be far enough away, but alas, the world does not seem to be going in that direction. On Monday, the CDC strongly suggested we avoid congregating in groups larger than ten people until May 10, and after hearing the State of Vermont echo that sentiment, and after talking with our friends at the City of Winooski, we concluded that Waking Windows 2020 was an impossibility. We would never want to put ourselves, our staff, our supporters, our guests, and the community at risk by inviting thousands of people into Winooski during this time of uncertainty. 

Although we are completely gutted about having to walk away from this year’s festival, we’re happy to announce that we’ve already worked with the city to secure dates for next year. The 2021 festival will take place on May 7-9 and we will be honoring all passes purchased for this year. If you cannot make it to the festival on these dates and would like a refund for your passes, please email nick@wakingwindows.com.

All of this hits extra hard, as we were really looking forward to celebrating this big 10-year festival milestone with you all! Can we still call it our tenth edition in 2021? Maybe we will. Regardless, let’s stick together virtually, hunker down for the next few weeks literally, and come out the other side with health, wellness, and the promise of celebrating music, art, and community for the rest of 2020. 

Thank you to everyone for the continued support throughout this time and over the years! We will hang out again. Until then, stay safe.

— Ali, Brian, Paddy, Nick, Matt and the Waking Windows crew