The beloved Michigan music festivals — one in June and another in July — cited concerns about the health of their attendees, musicians and volunteers in moving the events to 2021. Details at Local Spins.
Northern Michigan’s Nor-East’r Music & Art Festival near Mio and the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette have joined other summer music festivals by throwing in the towel for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Organizers announced they’re planning to return in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Marshall Blues Festival in downtown Marshall has moved its June 27 event to September and organizers of other early-season gatherings are expected to make decisions on their festivals later this month.
“It completely saddens our 100 percent volunteer team who work so hard to bring this festival. We hope you understand we have not taken this move lightly,” the Nor-East’r festival posted on its Facebook page Tuesday.
“After being recognized recently as the No. 3 festival in the state by our friends and festivalgoers (in Local Spins’ Michigan Music Festivals readers’ poll), we know how much this event means to all of you and we hope you’ll show your support for the festival on June 11-13 in 2021.”
Nor-Easter organizer Craig Carrick said the festival – which had been scheduled to take place June 12-14 at the Oscoda County Fairgrounds north of Mio – made the decision because of its “love and appreciation for the folks that come to our festival – the guests, the musicians and artists, vendors, volunteers.”
“We felt that their health and safety was paramount,” he told Local Spins. “We are very well known as a family-focused festival: Young families come with children and grandparents alike. And with our crowd, there’s a lot of hugging going on and we just couldn’t see our festival without these types of expression of appreciation.”
Carrick added that organizing and fundraising efforts that take place in March and April have been delayed due to the coronavirus shutdown, which already has put them behind. (COVID-19 cases in Michigan spiked to more than 25,000 this week.)
Because “the festival landscape in Michigan is pretty full,” it “just made most sense” to return in 2021 rather than postpone the event to a later date this summer or fall, Carrick added.
The festival which attracts about 1,500 attendees was to feature acts such as The Jill Jack Band, Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds, The Go Rounds, Keynote Sisters, Cold Tone Harvest, Blue Water Ramblers, Escaping Pavement, Barbarossa Brothers, Gasoline Gypsies and many others.
Much of that lineup will be retained for 2021. “Out of the 30 or so bands booked to perform for this year, I’ve got all but four already booked for next year,” Carrick said.
In a press release, Susan Divine, executive director of the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival slated for July 17-19 in Marquette’s Tourist Park said “the uncertainty” of re-opening projections and “the timeline of festival preparations” forced the Hiawatha Music Co-Op Board of Directors to make “the difficult decision to cancel” the 2020 event.
It’s the first time in the festival’s 42-year history that the Hiawatha celebration has been canceled. The festival ranked No. 6 in the 2020 Local Spins Readers’ Poll of favorite Michigan music festivals.
Our hearts go out to all the musicians and performers who are experiencing the loss of income as well as the Festival vendors, suppliers and support people. The Board will be meeting again this month to make some preliminary plans for music events for the remainder of the year,” the statement continued.
“We hope to be up and running events as soon as the legal mandates and social proximity restrictions are lifted.” Festivalgoers can get more information on the festival website. Ticket sales had not yet begun.
All tickets purchased for the 2020 Nor-East’r festival near Mio will be honored for the 2021 event, though organizers asked for patience “as we iron out the details regarding our new date, and we work with our advertisers, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, artists and musicians as well as ticket holders.”
Carrick said organizers are “very, very hopeful” that ticket holders will simply use their tickets in 2021. “But if there is just no way to make that happen, we will gladly refund their tickets,” he said. “But we sure hope we don’t have much of that because it’s sort of a nightmare to do.”
Early-bird tickets are $55 adults; kids 12 and younger are free, and passes for those 13-17 attending with their families are just $5.
The festival – which provides guitars to children every year – also plans to announce plans for continuing “to provide our Guitars for Kids program as well as our scholarship program” for 2020.
Festivalgoers can email the festival at email@example.com “with any questions or concerns.”
“As for 2021, I’m optimistic,” Carrick said. “I hope we can continue to slowly grow our little festival and bring music-loving people together for a weekend of great times and memories.”
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