Minnesota's Lakes Area Music Festival Cancelled After COVID-19 Cases

Live performances were planned up to mid-August until two festival musicians tested positive for the virus last week

Christian Reif, the Festival's Music Director (Photo credit: Stefan Cohen)


Held in Brainerd, Minnesota, the four-week festival was up to its sixth performance before the remaining concerts had to be canceled. 

The Lakes Area Music Festival (LAMF) is free and sustained exclusively through donations, grants, and foundation support. This year, it scheduled 11 orchestral performances, nine smaller concerts, and one staged opera. 

“Last week, our season began with optimism and enthusiasm,” said Scott Lykins, the festival’s artistic and executive director. “We were confident in our return to live performances with the knowledge that all of our artists are vaccinated and 98% of ticket holders reported vaccination. 

“Unfortunately, two of our artists have tested positive for COVID. Therefore, it is with deep regret and with the safety of our LAMF community in mind that we must cancel all remaining activities of our 2021 season,” he continued. “We look forward to having you join us when it is safe to do so again.”

Closing the festival on August 6, 2021, LAMF live-streamed a recital without an audience from Brainerd's new Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts. It featured a three-person baroque ensemble where all three artists performed masked and had tested negative for COVID-19 as of that day.

"Safety of our artists and community comes first," the Festival's Music Director Christian Reif said on social media.

"I am so grateful for the weeks of rehearsals and to have had the opportunity to share the stage with you last weekend, making music in the most nuanced, imaginative, energetic and present way I could ever wish for! It was a brilliant upbeat to the festival and to my first Music Director post. THANK YOU!"

From the outset, the festival live-streamed each event for those who were unable or uncomfortable with attending in person. Some of those video recordings can be accessed on the festival's YouTube page.