Dead & Company cancel Mexican festival less than 24 hours out from kick-off

After being hit with a series of roadblocks over the past week, Dead & Company have announced the outright cancellation of their destination festival, Playing In The Sand, less than 24 hours before gates were set to open.

The event – which takes place annually along Mexico’s Riviera Cancún – was initially scheduled to run over two weekends, with the first starting today (January 7) and running through to Monday (January 10). The second leg of the stint would have kicked off next Thursday (January 13) and run until Sunday January 14.

In a statement shared on the band’s Instagram page overnight, Dead & Company said: “With much sadness and after great consideration of every possible scenario, [both weekends of the festival] have now been canceled by CID Presents due to the spiking COVID-19 cases.”

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The band said they and the promoters had “tried everything possible to bring normalcy and to deliver a great experience and amazing music, but with each day it became increasingly clear that canceling is the correct thing to do for the fans and for our crew.” Ticketholders will be sent an email outlining their options for refunds.

The cancellation comes just hours after it was announced that John Mayer – who fronts Dead & Company alongside former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann – would be unable to perform after testing positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday (January 4), Kreutzmann stated that he too would need to sit the festival out, citing concerns over his health that began to arise in 2021. “After a lifetime of playing special beats, it’s almost no wonder that my heart came up with its own idea of rhythm,” he quipped at the time.

“All jokes aside, my doctor has ordered me to take it easy (and stay safe) through the end of January so that I can continue to drum and play for you for many tours to come. I have a lot of music left in me and there’s no stopping me from playing it.

Last August, Dead & Company performed a faithful recreation of The Grateful Dead’s set at Woodstock 1969. It came as part of their ongoing North American tour, with the show in question being held on the original festival site. That same month, the tour encountered tragedy when a man died after falling off a balcony at a concert in New York.

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In November, it was announced that Jonah Hill would play The Grateful Dead’s late frontman, Jerry Garcia, in an as-yet-untitled biopic about the band. Martin Scorsese will direct and produce the produce the film, with Apple on board to distribute. Hill will also serve as a producer, alongside creative partner Matt Dines.

Meanwhile, John Mayer is scheduled to hit the road in the US next month in support of his 2021 album ‘Sob Rock’.