Carmel Bach Festival to Cancel 2020 Season

April 27, 2020

Dear Friends of the Carmel Bach Festival,

We are missing your telephone calls and office visits, thinking of you and hoping that you and everyone dear to you is healthy and safe. During this difficult time of social distancing and prohibition of public gatherings, we appreciate even more the special defining characteristics of our festival: exhilarating performances and a special sense of intimacy and connection within the Festival family, that is, our performing artists, staff, volunteers, audiences, and the members of the larger community in which we live and work.

Our top priority is to protect and preserve the Festival family, whose loyalty and generosity have sustained this organization for an amazing 82 performance seasons.  In that context, after much consultation and soul searching, we conclude that we have no choice but to cancel the 2020 Festival. Even if the country begins to reopen, it would be too risky. We further believe that the federal, state, county and city rules and regulations will prevent us from gathering in large numbers for a while.

It’s astonishing to know that in the 85 years since the Bach Festival was founded, there have been only two cancellations, both during WWII. Subsequently, we’ve had an uninterrupted run, almost 75 years. That’s a tribute to you, our patrons and donors, and we are so very grateful for your continued, generous support.

Increased attendance and community support and prudent financial management, especially during the years 2017-2019, enabled us to accumulate some reserve funds, but not enough to fulfill the needs arising from the pandemic experience. At this time, we believe it is especially important to make a personally meaningful investment in the family members that have the greatest needs: our musicians and artistic members, who have been among the hardest hit, and our staff, who require adequate working capital to plan and prepare a fantastic 2021 season and maintain essential administrative functions.

If you already purchased 2020 concert tickets, please consider converting those purchases into donations to sustain the Carmel Bach Festival. Thank you for your consideration.

Patrons holding tickets for this year’s Festival have three options:

  • Return the tickets for donation.
  • Place the tickets “on hold,” with the cash value applying to tickets for the 2021 Festival.
  • Obtain a refund

Patrons can contact the ticket office via email at since the Festival office remains closed.

During the coming weeks, we will bring the 2020 Festival to a soft landing, continue to build momentum and bring back the joy, including using new  ways of staying connected as a Festival family, providing assistance to our performing artists, and planning an exciting and engaging 2021 Festival that honors Paul’s decade of artistic leadership. Save the dates, July 17-31, 2021. We will be in touch again very soon.

Thank you very much for your understanding and support. Take care and stay well.