Westben in Campbellford cancels Concerts at The Barn summer season

Not-for-profit arts organization offering online music programming and seeking donations

Westben's popular Concerts at The Barn series in Campbellford takes place in a 400-seat timber-frame barn with seating space for around one hundred people on lawn chairs in the meadow. (Photo: Westben)
Westben's popular Concerts at The Barn series in Campbellford takes place in a 400-seat timber-frame barn with seating space for around one hundred people on lawn chairs in the meadow. (Photo: Westben)

Westben in Campbellford has cancelled its popular Concerts at The Barn series this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Westben is genuinely sorry to announce that Concerts at The Barn 2020 will not take place as originally planned,” says co-founder and artistic and managing director Brian Finley on Saturday (May 2).

“The cancellation of the summer season is in keeping with government guidelines and with concern for the safety and well-being of all our communities of artists, participants, patrons and volunteers — in short, all of us.”

VIDEO: Westben Concerts at The Barn Announcement – May 2, 2020

Performers scheduled for Concerts at The Barn this summer had included singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett, cellist Ofra Harnoy, comedian Mary Walsh, folk musician David Francey, Lakefield’s musical family Leahy, soprano Karina Gauvin, singer-songwriter William Prince, and singer/pianist Carol Welsman, among others.

Finley says Westben will be contacting all ticket holders personally over the next three weeks, beginning Wednesday, May 6th. Options include receiving a refund for ticket purchases, leaving tickets on account for future presentations, or converting tickets into a donation with a tax receipt.

To keep connected with the community, Westben has launched “Sunshine Ahead”, an online content series featuring videos, a podcast, and kids’ content, available at westben.ca/sunshine-ahead.

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The cancellation of events and performances at Westben, including the 2020 Concerts at The Barn, represents a loss of up to 70 per cent of the organization’s projected annual revenue.

Westben is encouraging “Sunbeam Donations” to help the organization make it through the COVID-19 pandemic and support alternative music programming. Donations over $20 will receive a tax receipt. To donate, visit westben.ca/donate.

Westben was founded as Westben Arts Festival Theatre in 1999 by soprano Donna Bennett and pianist-composer Brian Finley. Originally known for its summer Concerts at The Barn series in a 400-seat timber-frame barn, the not-for-profit organization now has its headquarters in Clock Tower Cultural Centre in Campbellford and has become a year-round endeavour, presenting 82 performances and events in 2019 at The Barn, the Clock Tower, and other venues in the area.

Bennett and Finley received the Order of Canada in 2017 for their dedication to fostering the performing arts, musical education, and community building in rural Ontario.

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