Interlochen cancels 2020 Summer Arts Festival

May 8, 2020


Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts


For the first time since 1964, Interlochen Center for the Arts will not be hosting its annual summer Arts Festival.

“After careful monitoring of the COVID-19 pandemic and consultation with public health experts, our board of trustees, arts leaders, and many others, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Interlochen Arts Festival,” Interlochen Center for the Arts President Trey Devey said in a statement today. “We take this action with the health and safety of our community as our highest priority.” 

Past Arts Festivals have welcomed a variety of musical artists, including Reba McEntire, Diana Ross, Lady Antebellum, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Earth, Wind and Fire. 

The Festival also includes performances by Interlochen Arts Camp students, including the World Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as plays and musicals. 

Annually, the Interlochen Arts Festival attracts more than 45,000 patrons, according to a press release. It is one of the largest arts festivals in northern Michigan. 

Events primarily take place in Kresge Auditorium, a 4,000-seat outdoor venue on the shores of Green Lake. 

Proceeds from ticket sales for Interlochen performances fund scholarships for students to attend Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy. Last summer’s Interlochen Arts Festival raised more than $750,000 for need-based scholarships, the press release states. 

Interlochen is asking those who might have purchased tickets to an Arts Festival performance to consider making a donation to the institution's Annual Fund instead.

The first Interlochen Arts Festival took place in the summer of 1964, coinciding with major renovations to Kresge Auditorium, the second visit to Interlochen by legendary pianist Van Cliburn and multiple performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Eugene Ormandy. 

This decision comes two weeks after the announcement that Interlochen’s 93rd annual Arts Camp would be taking place online, an initiative called Interlochen Online.