SUDBURY -- There will be no big floating party on Lake Wahnapitae this year as part of 'Berrio on the Sandbanks.' Country crooner Larry Berrio has had to cancel the concert.

Berrio had been working with city officials and police to see if there was a way to hold the show safely, but with COVID-19, there was just no way they could do it safely and cap the audience at 100.

"It was a difficult decision but I think it was the right one," said Berrio. "If I'm going to pull of this massive event, where we could anticipate 2,000 people at this, and try to tell them stay on their boats, don't come out of the water, you know... all that kind of stuff."

The event has garnered national interest in recent years, and has been a highlight of the season for the Sudbury native, who's also an ambassador for Tourism Ontario.

"You know the event has grown so much," he said. "It's been filmed on TV shows, on social media … I think it's going to be, by next year, the largest on water concert in Canada."

Laurie Marcil, of Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario, said she's not surprised the event couldn't be held this year.

'Very unfortunate'

"With all the things that are going on with COVID right now, those venues that have large amounts of people -- large numbers of people gathering in one spot -- are going to be really tough to do right now and it's just very unfortunate."

Marcil said tourism providers have been going above and beyond, reaching new creative heights, as they look to get visitors out and about safely during a pandemic.

For now, Berrio said they'll just have to rock the sandbanks that much harder in 2021. He also hasn't given up on the summer season yet.

"So we're going to keep you posted, probably within the next couple of days to a week maximum, we have a few things in the works right now, so I'm hoping to finalize those details and you'll be the first ones to know," said Berrio.