- The third-annual Steve Harvey Sand and Soul Festival is moving out of the Dominican Republic, according to an email to customers seen by INSIDER.
- It was set to take place in October at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, where two US tourists have died in the past year.
- Sand & Soul Executive Producer Morgan Hawthorne wrote in an email to ticket buyers that the festival is still finalizing the details on a new location, which will be revealed next week.
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A jazz fest hosted by Steve Harvey is moving out of the country amid concerns about US tourist deaths at all-inclusive resorts.
The third-annual Steve Harvey Sand and Soul Festival was set to take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, in October – but an email seen by INSIDER shows festival organizers telling customers that they are changing the location.
“There has been a lot of negative media in the recent weeks surrounding the Dominican Republic and its safety for tourists to travel. We want you to know that higher than anything, we regard your safety as most important. This is why it has been an easy decision for us to move the Sand & Soul Festival out of the Dominican Republic this year,” Sand & Soul Executive Producer Morgan Hawthorne wrote in an email to ticket buyers.
Hawthorne said the festival would still be held October 10 to October 14.
“We ask that you allow us until the top of next week to disclose the new location to you, as we finalize the details,” the email said. “At this time our main concern was to give you peace of mind that the Dominican Republic is no longer a part of the 2019 Sand & Soul experience.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the website still named the location as being Punta Cana.
Festival organizers did not respond to requests for comment on the decision to move the festival.
Organizers previously provided INSIDER with a statement saying it was waiting for official reports on the deaths of David Harrison and Robert Bell Wallace, who both died while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Harrison, 45, of Charles County in southern Maryland near Washington, DC, died after falling ill while he was vacationing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino last July.
In April, Wallace, 67, of California, died at the same resort. His relatives told Fox News he had fallen ill after having a drink from his hotel room minibar while staying at the resort for his stepson’s wedding.
The deaths at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino two of several US tourist deaths that have happened in the Dominican Republic this year.
So far this year at least eight US tourists have died from heart attacks, pulmonary edemas, or other apparent natural causes while staying at all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican. Two other US tourists died in a car crash on the country’s notoriously dangerous roads.
The US State Department said that the number of US tourists who have died in the Dominican Republic this year is normal compared to previous years.
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