*Steve Harvey’s third-annual Sand and Soul Festival was set to take place this fall at a Dominican Republic resort where at least 2 U.S. tourists have died in the last year. But according to INSIDER, the event is being relocated amid concerns over the safety of tourists in the country.
The event was set to be held from October 10 to October 14 at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana. As reported by Business Insider, David Harrison, 45, of Maryland died at after falling ill while he was vacationing at resort last July. In April, Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, died at the same resort after he became ill from consuming a drink from his hotel room minibar.
Sand & Soul Executive Producer Morgan Hawthorne sent an email to ticket buyers noting that the festival is still finalizing the details on a new location, which will be revealed next week.
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“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,” Hawthorne wrote in the email, obtained by INSIDER.
Hawthorne confirmed the festival will 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.”
The festival’s all-star celebrity line up reportedly includes Ginuwine, Doug E. Fresh, LisaRaye, and Anthony Hamilton. It’s unclear if refunds will be issued to folks who no longer want to travel to the country.
Since last June, at least nine US tourists have died while staying at resorts in the D.R.