A park, an art gallery, and even a grocery store will act as music venues this weekend as Sisters Folk Festival rolls back into town.
“I think up until a few days ago we had a little trepidation, like is it really going to happen?” said the festival’s executive director Crista Munro.
The three-day event is returning Friday through Sunday for the first time since 2019.
Last year, the air was thick, but not with music.
“We got hit with a big smoke bomb from the Labor Day fires, the Holiday Farm Fires,” said Munro. “And ended up having to cancel that on the Friday of the event. If COVID hadn’t taken the festival out, the smoke would have.”
A total of 29 artists will play at seven venues across town, reduced to 75% capacity to allow for social distancing.
COVID-19 vaccinations will also be required for all ticket-holders 12 and older.
“Everyone is required to show proof of vaccine before they get their bracelet that will get them into all the venues this weekend,” festival board chair Terry Buchholz said. “There will be mask wearing even though we have outdoor venues, when people can’t distance more than six feet apart from their little group.”
Funds from the event will benefit school music programs, and a few of the musicians will perform for local middle and high school students on Friday.
“We going to have a few of the festival artists go and play at the football stadium, and so it’s going to be like a mini concert over at the schools,” Munro said.
The foot traffic also benefits the local economy.
“It also is a business upside for all of our businesses and restaurants, hotels, Airbnb’s, and they all look forward to festival weekend also,” Buchholz added.
Though the number of guests will drop from around 4,300 people to about 3,100 people, the team behind the scenes feels confident.
“You walk through town, and you walk from venue to venue, and it’s just the most magical experience,” Buchholz said.
“I think they’re going to come away with just an amazing feeling of community, and enjoyment of this live music that kind of fills you up,” Munro said.
“Even when COVID isn’t happening, people just leave refilled from everyday life, and I think that’s going to be even bigger this year.”
For a full list of venues and artists, visit the Sisters Folk Festival website here.