FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor Mark Rushing has confirmed with 5NEWS that the university is terminating its license agreement with Bikes, Blues & BBQ organizers, citing that hospitals in Northwest Arkansas are already overwhelmed due to COVID-19 and would not be able to handle an influx in patients that the bike rally would bring.
The license termination means Baum-Walker Stadium will not be used as the event's main stage, and university parking lots will not be used for the rally.
"Today, we determined and informed the organizers of the BB&BBQ event that we believe it is in the best interest of the community that we terminate the license agreement that would have allowed organizers to use university parking lots for this year’s event," Rushing said.
Recently, Washington Regional sent a letter to Fayetteville city leaders pleading to postpone Bikes, Blues & BBQ in 2021. The letter said the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 has hospitals full. Washington Regional said that Bikes, Blues & BBQ always correlates with an uptick in patients at hospitals and that health care facilities couldn't handle the increase this year.
5NEWS has reached out to the event organizers for comment on the license termination and will update this article with their response.
Bikes, Blues & BBQ was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The event organizers announced Thursday (Aug. 26) announced the 2021 rally will be postponed for now.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.