After taking 2020 off due to COVID, the granddaddy of Michigan music festivals plans ‘as near normal a regular festival as possible’ this year, with sets by Big Sandy, Djangophonique, Blue Highway and more.
One of Michigan’s longest-running, most-revered music festivals will return in September after a hiatus forced by the COVID pandemic.
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Wheatland Music Festival will unfold Sept. 10-12 outside Remus, with organizers proclaiming they plan to stage “as near normal a regular festival as possible” in 2021.
The 48th annual international folk and roots music celebration — which usually attracts about 15,000 people – with Blue Highway, Joe Louis Walker, Djangophonique, Sweet Water Warblers, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys and more tentatively set to perform based on the Wheatland website.
The Wheatland Music Organization will ask those who aren’t vaccinated for COVID to “mask up” and social distance, with organizers planning to follow whatever health guidelines are in place at the time of the September festival, according to WMO’s Marilyn Hummel.
Hummel said recent relaxation of the state’s capacity restrictions on outdoor gatherings “had a lot to do with” the decision to move forward this year after being forced to cancel 2020’s festival.
“We have had a committee of WMO board members and medical personnel looking at options for several months now … so we decided that it was manageable,” Hummel said.
“It was a unanimous board vote, so we are all solidly behind making it work. … It is still a work in progress.”
Hummel noted that the artist lineup is based on “prior commitments made to bands we had hired for 2020. Some deposits had already been paid in 2020 before COVID changed everything.”
But with some artists choosing not to tour yet, the 2021 lineup hasn’t yet been completely finalized, she said.
More information about volunteering, ticket sales and other guidelines “will be posted next week,” said J. Oscar Bittinger, Wheatland’s web and social media coordinator.
The annual, one-day Winter Wheat festival at The Intersection in Grand Rapids will also be back in January 2022. The lineup for the Jan. 8 fundraiser for WMO hasn’t yet been set, Hummel said.
View archives of Local Spins coverage of the Wheatland festival and other events online here.
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