Skip to main content

Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd cancels season due to COVID-19

Two musicians, who reported being vaccinated, tested positive.

The Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd has canceled the remainder of its performances due to COVID-19. 

The free classical music festival, which kicked off its summer series about two weeks ago, was forced to cancel the remainder of the season after two artists tested positive for COVID-19, even though they were reportedly vaccinated, Artistic and Executive Director Scott Lykins said on Friday, Aug. 6

"Our season began with optimism and enthusiasm. We were confident in our return to live performances with the knowledge that all of our artists are vaccinated and 98% of ticket holders reported vaccination," Lykins said, noting they'd adjust safety plans due to the variants, so artists and the audience were required to wear masks and the artists were tested daily for COVID-19. 

"It is with deep regret and with the safety of our LAMF community in mind that we must cancel all remaining activities of our 2021 season," Lykins said. "In this time of uncertainty, our commitment is to ensuring the safety of our audience and artists. This was a heartbreaking decision to make, and we know it is the only way to protect the community that we love."

Lykins said they would continue to be transparent about this decision and any ongoing health concerns. 

"We know this news raises a lot of questions, and we honor our commitment to transparency by providing as many answers as we can when they are available," Lykins said. 

This is the Lakes Area Music Festival's 12th season and was set to be featured on the new stage at the Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts in Brainerd, with each event available via livestream for those uncomfortable attending in person. The season was scheduled to run through Aug. 22, and marked a return to in-person concerts after artists performed virtually in 2020. 

Lykins told the Brainerd Dispatch the festival couldn't pivot to continuing the festival for audiences via livestream only because they can't ensure the safety of all performers, noting singers, woodwind and brass musicians cannot wear a mask.  

The festival draws 200 musicians from some of the nation's top orchestras and opera companies each season. Those who traveled to Brainerd by car could drive home to quarantine, while others will stay in town and be tested to ensure they don't test positive for COVID-19 before they travel, Lykins told the paper. 

Cases of COVID-19 are surging again across much of the U.S. due to the delta variant, especially among people who remain unvaccinated. Although breakthrough cases can happen (where a fully immunized person gets COVID-19), Minnesota health officials have said the vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated. 

Next Up

Dave Hutchinson

Dave Hutchinson has police license suspended for 30 days

The sheriff's suspension will begin on Nov. 22.

minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension - bca

Man with sword, officers who shot him in North Branch identified

The 31-year-old was shot multiple times in the Friday incident.

Jeff Plush

MN-based USA Curling 'reviewing' report that CEO ignored abuse in NWSL

Jeff Plush is under fire for multiple allegations made by U.S. women soccer players.

Axdahl's Garden Farm & Greenhouse

7 Minnesota pumpkin patches to visit this fall

Plenty of patches to pick the best pumpkin

slushy snow

Sven Sundgaard responds to AccuWeather's winter forecast

Take anything beyond a couple weeks with a grain of salt, warns meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Rage Against the Machine cancels rest of tour, including MN shows

The cancellations include a 2023 stop at the Target Center.

Screen Shot 2022-10-04 at 11.03.16 AM

Watch: Speeding drivers use Minneapolis bike lanes to overtake

Community members have called for better safety precautions in response.

Jamal Smith

Jamal Smith sentenced to life for Plymouth road rage killing

A guilty verdict was determined by a jury this summer.


radio station, microphone

KFAN's Paul Allen recounts 'harrowing' fatigue from COVID-19

Paul Allen said he experienced extreme fatigue after testing positive.

Walz covid vaccine delivery

COVID-19 vaccines start arriving in Minnesota

The first doses of the vaccine could be administered to Minnesotans later this week.

covid vaccine card

FDA gives full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

This approval is expected to lead to more vaccine mandates.

Minnesota Orchestra

MN Orchestra to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, masks

The new safety protocols for the season go in effect in September.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota to offer free COVID rapid testing at 9 more sites

Three new rapid testing sites opened in Minnesota this week.

masks, coronavirus, covid-19

Brainerd area named in NYT report about potential COVID outbreaks

The MN Dept. of Health says most of Minnesota is seeing case increases.

covid vaccine card

More than 11K Minnesotans signed up for $100 COVID incentive on Day 1

The new vaccination rewards program opened on Wednesday, and it has proven quite popular among the newly vaccinated.