KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Big Ears, the nationally acclaimed eclectic festival held in multiple venues in downtown Knoxville has been canceled amid coronavirus concerns.

Festival officials confirmed the cancellation Wednesday afternoon. The World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared the virus crisis a pandemic.

Earlier this week, officials had said they were “monitoring the situation closely,” and “will make prudent and thoughtful decisions as the situation develops.”

The situation has now developed to a straight cancelation – with no word yet on a rescheduled date, if any.

Refunds will soon be offered to all festival ticket holders.

“Just 48 hours ago, we were optimistic that there was a path forward; but with events surrounding COVID-19 developing rapidly along with the obvious need for urgent steps to contain its spread, we simply cannot move forward with the festival as scheduled,” said Big Ears Festival executive director Ashley Capps.

“This has been a tough decision. Not only is the principle that ‘the show must go on’ woven into our DNA, but the impact of this cancellation on the community that makes Big Ears possible — the artists, the festival attendees, our staff and production teams, and the Knoxville community with all of its businesses and workers — cannot be overstated.”

Capps went on to say that at the moment, it was too early for them to assess if they may be able to reschedule the festival for sometime later in 2020: “for now, we need to pause and refocus.”