Bluegrass Festival is on Aug. 1
By Kristi Shields
SPRING CITY—The Spring City Bluegrass and Folk Music Festival will continue its annual tradition this year, but with precautions and alterations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of a two-day festival including a concert, food, quilt exhibit, car shows, and art and music workshops, it will be limited to a concert with food trucks and vendors, including an arts and craft booth.
The festival will be split into two different days, so it can be more manageable and safe. The first concert will be held on Aug. 1 from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. at the Spring City Park. Festival director Ted Hinckley has not yet determined a date for the second one, but it will be in September. The official date will be announced at the first concert.
“We cut it to one day to have its footprint be a little smaller,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley said he hopes that by the time the second concert rolls around, conditions will have improved, so the concert can run under better circumstances and have fewer restrictions.
Hinckley has worked with the Southern Utah Health Department to ensure the safety of the attendees and not have to cancel the event. He said feels confident about the safety of the event because it’s easier to social distance outside.
“There is so much concern, so we wanted to just focus on the event and focus on delivering this,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley said there was a time where the concert may have been canceled, but it was important for him to provide the musicians with the opportunity to perform — since it has been limited this summer — and to give the public an event to have fun at and forget about the difficult time we’re living in.
Those who are concerned about attending will have the chance to watch the concert live on Facebook and Instagram, or even at the drive-in option where they can pull into the park and broadcast it in their cars from the local FM station.
There will also be big video screens projecting the concert placed throughout the park to allow for more space between groups. The ushers will carry 6 foot poles to demonstrate proper social distancing.
“We’re literally trying every angle to put on a safe concert,” Hinckley said. “We’ve done enough measures; we’re in pretty good shape to have attendance.”
The concert is free to the public for the first time. Hinckley said it was going to be a hassle to sell pre-sale tickets in case the conditions of the pandemic got worse, and the concert needed to be canceled.
Hinckley added that hosting the festival has not been cheap, but they were able to raise money from donors and sponsors to make up for ticket sales, and to put money toward the extra needed equipment, extra workers to clean the bathrooms more frequently, and ushers to ensure groups are social distancing.
He said they were fortunate to have generous sponsors who had extra money that wasn’t put toward other events because of cancellations.
“It made sense for this year to pursue it being free,” Hinckley said. “It’s my hope that… everyone comes and enjoys the concert. They can come and forget about all this stuff for a little while; that’s the intention.”
The audience is strongly encouraged to wear masks while moving around in the public areas, but it is not required while being settled in their space with their group.