The Sisters Folk Festival is the latest event casualty of COVID-19, with organizers postponing the gathering until September 2021.
Steven Remington, development director for the festival, sent a note to sponsors Wednesday morning.
“As you know on May 7 the Oregon governor announced there would be “no concerts, sporting events or large gatherings taking place at least through the end of September without major modifications,'” Remington wrote. “Since that day, our team has been exploring what those modifications might look like for the Sisters Folk Festival (Masks? Social distancing? Micro-sized, assigned venues? A virtual festival?) and, simply put, we just can’t see how that would work for our community.”
In a press release on the event website, organizers said even with those necessary modifications in place, there is no guarantee that state-wide restrictions won’t be re-imposed if there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Oregon over the next weeks and months.
“Lots of our people travel here from outside of the area, including the performing artists. They need to know, with certainty, what is happening with the festival this fall. Unfortunately, certainty is something that no one can provide right now,” said SFF Executive Director Crista
Munro. “We know that this news is very disappointing, and we had hoped to not have to deliver it, but the well-being of our entire community is our primary concern. It’s clear that no matter how much we want to have a festival this September, the scientific and medical community
doesn’t yet understand enough about how this disease is spread for us to safely bring a lot of people together with confidence. We don’t even know for sure what phase of opening our state will be in four months from now; it all depends on how these first few weeks of re-opening go. I think people will understand that we held off on making this call for as long as we could, hoping for a breakthrough that would allow us to proceed with the festival.”
Creative director Brad Tisdel adds, “Each year we carefully curate a festival lineup that includes musical and cultural diversity. With 40+ musical acts coming from all over the country and world, it’s clear we can’t make the 2020 festival happen as planned. I’m currently working with agents and artists to bring THIS lineup to next year’s festival, with all the collaboration and musical alchemy coming together to create an extraordinary experience. We look forward to celebrating it with you in 2021 and thank you for your support and belief in Sisters Folk Festival.”
Tickets to this year’s festival will be automatically rolled over to the 2021 event, unless the purchaser elects to get a festival loyalty package; to donate their ticket purchase price to Sisters Folk Festival, a nonprofit organization; or requests a refund by June 30.
Sisters Folk Festival is still planning to have some type of event over the September 11-13 weekend, most likely a livestreamed program with a small live audience if state guidelines allow it.
The organization is also looking into ways to deliver live music programming on a small scale to residents of Central Oregon later this summer. Details will be forthcoming as plans take shape.