This Weekend's OZYFest Central Park Event Canceled Amid N.Y. Heat Wave

Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media
Karl Rove and Chelsea Handler at last year's OZYFest

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for all of New York City's five boroughs from noon Friday until 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, with heat index values expected to reach 105 today and 105-110 on Saturday and Sunday.

Ahead of a dangerous heat wave set to hit New York City this weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference Friday, when the temperature was already climbing, that he had instructed organizers of the fourth annual OZYFest event in Central Park this weekend to cancel the two-day outdoor festival given the heat conditions.

Later Friday, OZYFest posted a note to its Twitter account saying the festival "will not be going ahead as scheduled this weekend."

"We are currently working with the City to figure out alternative plans," the statement added. "We will be in touch with ticket holders and the media as soon as we have more information."

In an email to reporters covering the festival later Friday, a rep for the festival said after consulting with the City of New York and government agencies, it was determined that the event couldn't be moved to an alternate location this weekend. The rep said all tickets will be refunded with more information available soon.

“We absolutely cannot put any festival-goers at risk. We are so disappointed, and we hope to work with the City of New York in the future,” OZY CEO Carlos Watson said in a statement.

Before the cancellation was announced, the festival's website included a message stating that "there will be unlimited free water, misting fans, shaded areas, heat relief tents, sunscreen dispensers and ice stations" throughout the weekend event.

The festival, presented by OZY Media and set to take place on Central Park's Great Lawn, was expected to feature panel discussions from such luminaries as Alex Rodriguez, Elizabeth Vargas, Mark Cuban, Stacey Abrams, Laurene Powell Jobs, Trevor Noah, John Kasich, Megan Rapinoe, Spike Lee, Beto O'Rourke, Sean Spicer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Cooking demonstrations from Padma Lakshmi, Rachael Ray and Marcus Samuelsson were also planned, along with comedy sets from Dulce Sloan and Ronny Chieng and music from John Legend, Tove Lo and Miguel, among other performances.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for all of New York City's five boroughs from noon Friday until 8 pm ET on Sunday, with heat index values expected to reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit today and 105-110 degrees Saturday and Sunday. The soaring temperatures come as much of the nation deals with high heat this weekend.

People were advised to take extra precautions if they plan to spend time outside, including drinking plenty of water, wearing light or loose-fitting clothes and rescheduling strenuous activities for the early morning or evening as they should also pay attention to the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

An executive order declaring a heat emergency was also signed by de Blasio, who advised that this weekend will be a "very, very difficult situation," advising New York City residents to "take this weather seriously" and saying the area hadn't seen temperatures like the ones expected in at least seven years.

The city, he said, is expected to be dealing with extreme heat until Sunday night.

The New York City Mayor's Office Twitter account also announced Friday that the New York City triathlon had been canceled, with participants expected to receive a full refund.

The high temperatures come just a week after a power outage hit a significant chunk of the west side of Manhattan, leaving Broadway shows and other buildings in that part of town without power for a few hours Saturday night.

On Friday, de Blasio said that he had checked with New York City power supplier ConEd and that they "expect to have plenty of available electricity for the demand level." 

3:45 p.m. This story has been updated with more information from OZYFest on this weekend's cancellation.