Havelock Country Jamboree canceled for 2022

Operators of the Havelock Country Jamboree have officially ended the 2022 edition of the four-day country music festival, upsetting ticket holders who have been waiting for the festival to resume since it was last held in 2019.

The 2023 event could even be in limbo as well, organizers said.

The four-day series has been held annually on the third weekend in August for the past 30 years at a two-story outdoor venue on the northeast side of Havelock.

It hasn’t taken place since 2019 after COVID-19 restrictions prevented it from being held in 2020 and 2021.

“We are sorry to announce that there will be no Havelock Country Jamboree 2022,” the festival announced.

A decision on whether the 31st edition of the festival will take place in 2023 is expected to be revealed in the fall.

“We don’t know what will happen for 2023 at this time and we are working to figure it all out,” the festival announced.

No details on ticket refunds have yet been revealed.

“We are also working on this and will let you know as soon as possible,” the festival announced.

Many Jamboree regulars have been keeping tickets for a 31st edition for several years.

“We want to assure you that we are aware of the importance of the Jamboree and how we have become a family,” the festival announcement added.

Patrick Gérard, who lives outside of Gatineau, is trying to recover the $880 he spent on tickets in the fall of 2020.

Jamboree organizers have pledged to honor tickets purchased for the 2020 and 2021 festivals after both were canceled due to COVID-19.

“I’m actually relieved because they might as well have had a super lame event and used the excuse ‘hey we had an event so we don’t have to refund’. Now we have a little hopeful of maybe getting a refund,” Gerard told The Examiner after the weekend announcement.

“They will have to act quickly though because it looks like people are starting to consider the legal route.”

Frustrated online ticket holders have expressed interest in potentially launching a class action lawsuit to recoup their expenses.

Ron Captain, of Angus, Ont., spent nearly $3,000 on multiple tickets in 2020.

He is not satisfied with the latest statement from the festival organizers.

“I think they’re holding up. They’ve been standing up to us for over two years now. I understand COVID happened and they had to cancel, but Boots and Hearts is continuing this year; the other Belleville festival continues. Just give us back our money,” the captain said.

David Gerow, deputy mayor of the township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, said the third consecutive cancellation was “very disappointing”.

“The festival means a lot to the municipality. The jamboree is important not only to Havelock but to the surrounding township. It was a well-organized and important Canada-wide event,” he said.

Gerow said he hoped ticket holders could start getting their money back.

“I hope everything will be settled now that they have made the announcement. But it will be disappointing for everyone, not just for the organizers but for all those who really appreciate the jamboree and the entertainment it provides”, did he declare.

The Havelock Country Jamboree is considered the largest outdoor country music and camping festival in Canada. More than 20,000 people attend each year from across North America with more than 25 country music bands from Canada and Nashville performing on the twin stages each year over the four days.

Past acts have included Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson.

Following Monday’s announcement, some fans expressed concern that the Jamboree race was over. There are now rival summer country music festivals in central Ontario, including Tweed and Hastings, as well as Boots and Hearts, which returns this year to Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte Township, north from Barrie.

But other fans showed their support for the tradition and urged organizers to return with the festival in 2023.

“Sad to hear, but hopefully the event can come back next year,” Diana Devitt MacDonald posted on Facebook.

“Very sad news indeed. I miss my Happy Havelock family,” said Marie Kernohan.

“Full of hope for 2023! Thank you for the many good memories! Much love in this difficult time.

— with files from Brendan Burke, Examiner Staff

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