Over 1 million visitors attended the Andong Mask Dance Festival in 2019. (Andong City government)
The Andong City government announced on Tuesday that it had decided to cancel the Andong Mask Dance Festival, which was set to start Sept. 25, due to the danger of COVID-19.
According to the organizer of the 10-day festival, diverse performances were planned for Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province.
“We are sorry to announce the cancellation of the ‘Andong Mask Dance Festival.’ We will provide diverse events next year as a world-class festival organizer,” an Andong City government official said in a statement.
This is not the first time that the local government has canceled the festival for safety reasons. In 2009, the festival was canceled due to the influenza pandemic.
Explaining the decision, the festival organizer said it would be meaningless to hold the international event without performers or participants from overseas.
Instead, the Andong City government said, it plans to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange to put on the K-pop-themed “K-Culture Festival” in September or October this year.
Established in 1997, the annual mask dance festival celebrates the Hahoe Byeolsingut Talnori, a traditional art form that dates back more than 800 years.
Over 1 million people visit Andong for the festival each year, the organizer said.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org