The longstanding, much-beloved event near Harbor Springs was to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, but won’t take place due to COVID-19. Details at Local Spins.
One of northern Michigan’s most respected and beloved music festivals won’t take place this year due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
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Blissfest, which was to celebrate its 40th anniversary July 10-12 near Harbor Springs and Cross Village, announced today that it was canceling the 2020 festival because it “could not proceed with this year’s event in good conscience.”
“After thoughtful consideration and with a heavy heart, we have decided to cancel the annual Blissfest Music Festival,” the Blissfest Music Organization said in a prepared statement, noting that it was a unanimous decision by the Blissfest board and staff.
“We are invested in being a good community partner and will do our part,” the statement continued.
“We will miss your smiles. We will miss seeing you dance, sing and enjoy yourselves on our festival farm. Blissfest will be here and we can wait one year until we meet again.”
Board president Susan Scott said the board was “heartbroken to have to make this call. With this decision behind us, we now turn our attention to learning how to deliver the magic to you in creative ways. We will all get through this together.”
The 2021 event is slated to take place July 9-11, and organizers pleaded with ticket buyers to “rollover over your reservation until 2021.” The organization noted that the festival comprises its “primary income stream and the funds raised support our year-round programs as well as any improvements to our beautiful site.”
There is a process for obtaining refunds for purchased festival wristbands online here, with the ability to donate part of that to Blissfest or to rollover wristband orders to 2021.
“All contributions, no matter the size, are greatly appreciated and will have a tremendous positive impact on our organization,” according to the statement.
DELAYING TO A LATER SUMMER DATE PROVED TO BE DIFFICULT
Cindy McSurely, Blissfest executive director, noted that postponing the event — which sells out and attracts about 4,500 people each year — to another date later this summer would have been a challenge because of conflicts with other Michigan festivals.
“As you are well aware, Michigan has a vibrant music festival season. For those seeking to reschedule, the season looks to be condensed into four, maybe five weeks,” she told Local Spins.
“Blissfest Music Organization has longstanding relationships with many of these organizations and presenters. Through this whole process, we are making every effort to do our best and to be sensitive to all parties involved. We are not interested in interfering with anyone else’s dates.”
She added that it would also have been difficult rescheduling so many artists, production crews and vendors, and noted the festival is grateful to those ticket buyers who’ve already chosen to rollover their reservations to 2021.
Blissfest ranked as the No. 4 Michigan music festival in the 2020 Local Spins Readers’ Poll released last month, and came in at No. 1 in 2019, with festivalgoers praising the “magical” vibe, beautiful location and stellar performances.
The festival hadn’t formally announced its performance schedule prior to today’s announcement, which insisted the 2021 event will feature “an awesome lineup.” Last year’s festival featured performances by Amy Helm, Canned Heat, Sam Bush, Steve Poltz, Martin Sexton and many more.
Jim Gillespie, founder and longtime director of Blissfest, said he remains “humbled by life’s twists and turns,” including the current pandemic.
“My wish is that our Blissfest family continue to be guided and inspired by the universal language of music to help us through these hard times,” he said, encouraging fans to check out Blissfest radio online. “Although we can’t gather as a musical community this summer, let’s stay musically connected until we meet again in 2021.”
Check out Local Spins photos and coverage of Blissfest 2019 online here.
And for complete updates and listings of upcoming Michigan music festivals, browse Local Spins’ Michigan Music Festivals 2020 guide.
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC