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Garth Brooks, Joan Baez among this year’s Kennedy Center honorees

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Country music star Garth Brooks, TV icon Dick Van Dyke and songwriter Joan Baez are among this year’s recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, who will be recognized with “re-envisioned virtual tributes” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Choreographer Debbie Allen and violinist Midori will also be honored at the 43rd annual ceremony for the Kennedy Center’s most prestigious award, the Washington, D.C., performing arts institution announced Wednesday.

The awards ceremony, typically held in December, had been postponed until May because of COVID-19.

Instead of the packed, single ceremony typically held in the Opera House, the Kennedy Center said it will utilize its “entire campus” with “small, in-person events” that will include performances and speaking tributes before physically distant audiences.

Virtual events for the 2020 honorees will also be held throughout the week beginning May 17, the Kennedy Center said, and “the viability of additional in-person events will be considered as COVID-19 safety protocols evolve over the upcoming months.”

In recent years, the typically nonpartisan event had become a political lightning rod after some of the recipients said they would boycott a White House reception in protest of President Trump. The 45th president bucked tradition and never attended the function while in office, saying in 2017 that he and Melania Trump were skipping it to avoid “political distraction.”

This year’s gala will air on CBS on June 6.

Tags dick van dyke Donald Trump Garth Brooks joan baez Kennedy Center Kennedy Center Honorees Kennedy Center Honors Melania Trump Washington D.C.

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