2021 will be the second year in a row that Oxford will not host its award-winning Double Decker Arts Festival.
Kinney Ferris, director of Visit Oxford, said Double Decker’s 25th annual event is being postponed “yet again” due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was originally postponed from April 2020 to August, and now, it is scheduled for the spring of 2021.
At the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, Ferris said this year’s postponement is because of Gov. Tate Reeves’s current executive order, which limits crowds from gathering.
“While we know that the current executive orders and restrictions from the governor will likely change between now and April 23, we did not think that there’s going to be quite enough shift to host an event of the magnitude that Double Decker is safely in our community,” Ferris said.
Mayor Robyn Tannehill said in an ASB town hall last week that she was hopeful Double Decker would happen in some capacity this spring since the average number of COVID-19 cases in Oxford is decreasing.
“My gut tells me that it’s not going to be the Double Decker that we all know and love, but it’s also not going to be nothing,” Tannehill said. “So, hang with us. We’re getting there.”
In Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Tannehill said there are small events related to Double Decker that will begin in April and continue through the next year, though no dates have been released yet. The city decided to postpone the event to next spring rather than this fall because it was difficult to find musicians who would commit to playing at the event during that time.
“I think there will be an event that is a more signature event in the fall, but we are just putting all those plans together right now,” Tannehill said.
Visit Oxford said in a statement that although the office is disappointed Double Decker won’t happen in its traditional form in 2021, it is excited about the idea of people being able to gather to celebrate art and music at the pop-up events.
“With musicians not touring as normal, crowds not allowed to gather and the rollout of the vaccine still in the beginning phase, we felt that we could not deliver the experience that fans have grown accustomed to with Double Decker,” the statement read. “We miss all of you and cannot wait for all of this to be over!”