crowd above (copy)

Thousands of people filled Prior Lake’s Lakefront Park for the first day of the 2019 Lakefront Music Fest. The 2020 festival was cancelled because the coronavirus can spread in crowds.

Lakefront Music Fest is off for 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced early Wednesday.

The annual Prior Lake Rotary Club fundraiser was planned for early July with Styx, Lady Antebellum and other performers at Lakefront Park. Tickets are still good for the same time in 2021, the club said in a news release, but it’s not certain if the lineup will be the same.

The decade-old festival regularly draws tens of thousands of attendees from around the region.

“We are obviously very saddened to announce the postponement of 2020 Lakefront Music Fest,” Michelle Jirik, who co-chairs the event, said in a written statement.

“Given the fact that our event gathers nearly 35,000 fans and we have hundreds of volunteers and production staff, it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” she added.

“Making our decision even more difficult is knowing our nonprofit groups rely heavily on the funds shared from our event and knowing our community businesses are affected by this postponement. We thank everyone in advance for their understanding.”

The Rotary said it dispensed more than $70,000 last year to volunteer groups that helped run the event, such as YMCA Twin Cities and Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools organizations.

Ticketholders should receive an email with instructions by mid-May, according to the news release.

The virus has infected more than 1 million people in the U.S. and has been a factor in more than 60,000 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Minnesota Department of Health counted more than 7,000 cases and more than 400 deaths as of early this week.

The disease can often spread through coughing or talking near other people, so health officials and event organizers around the state have limited gatherings and crowd sizes to slow its spread. Shakopee’s Twin Cities Summer Jam was also pushed to 2021 earlier this year.

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