Due to COVID-19 concerns, Beaver Island has reversed course and pulled the plug on its July event, with Dunesville and the Grand Rapids’ Fourth of July celebration announcing similar moves.
With some island residents still fearful of contracting the coronavirus, the Beaver Island Music Festival has reversed course and canceled the limited 2020 event it planned for July 17-18.
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The news comes the same day that Dunesville Music Festival in Interlochen announced that it was pulling the plug on its three-day celebration planned for July 24-26 due to the “uncertainties that encompass us” because of COVID-19.
The northern Michigan music festivals join several other major summer celebrations that already have bowed to the pandemic, including Wheatland Music Festival, Nor-East’r Music & Art Festival, Buttermilk Jamboree, Cowpie Music Festival and Electric Forest.
Just two weeks ago, Beaver Island Music Festival had announced plans for moving forward with a limited edition of the event featuring more than a half-dozen Michigan artists – a festival that would have limited ticket sales to 250 people (unless restrictions loosened to allow more attendees by mid-July).
But in a prepared statement issued today, the island’s board for the Patrons of the Arts in Rural Communities noted that “some still feel very opposed” to staging the 2020 event despite “months of deliberations and hard work … toward finding safe ways to continue this small and isolated music festival.”
So, after a “heartfelt struggle,” it decided that this year’s festival instead “will become BIMF 2021 with all artists returning for a stronger and larger festival. … Music is the medicine we need.”
The 2021 festival plans to feature sets by The Cerny Brothers, City Silos, The Founding, Gasoline Gypsies, Cluster Pluck, Aoife Scott, Drew Hale Band, The Hacky Turtles and many more. (Organizer Carol Burton said 95 percent of ticket purchasers are simply keeping their tickets for use in 2021.)
Some questions and concerns about the 2020 event lingered, despite “more information, significant decreases of illness, smaller numbers of people allowed to gather, safety measures in place and an executive order allowing outdoor events,” according to the PARC board, which believed it had organized “a safe, healthy, environmentally friendly venue to share music and support artists, festival-goers and businesses.”
DUNESVILLE, GR FOURTH OF JULY SCRAPPED; MARSHALL BLUEGRASS FEST STILL ON
Dunesville, meanwhile, cited not only impact of COVID-19 as a reason for canceling this year’s event but “the tragic and sudden loss of two of our biggest supporters.”
“With the uncertainties that encompass us as a result of the current health concerns involved in transient-related events during the pandemic, combined with the loss of these amazing angels (Gary Swartz and Kurt Luedtke) from our community family, it is with heavy hearts and minds that we have concluded it to be within our best judgment to cancel Dunesville 2020,” the festival announced on Facebook.
The festival will return July 23-25 in 2021. Tickets purchased for the 2020 festival will be good for next year’s event. Those seeking refunds can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not surprisingly, Grand Rapids today also officially canceled its downtown Fourth of July fireworks due to social-distancing and crowd-size restrictions, joining Detroit, Grand Haven, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grandville in scrapping the celebrations.
On the flip side, the Marshall Bluegrass Festival slated for July 19-25 announced today that it plans to move forward, though it’s still seeking personal and business sponsorships for the event.
Held at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall, this year’s festival will feature Caleb Daugherty Band, Edgar Loudermilk Band, Lorrain Jordan & Carolina Road, Kevin Prater Band, Harbourtown, The Journeymen and more. Get details online here.
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