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Blues Festival postponed until June of 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in cancellation of the 2020 annual Billtown Blues Festival at Hughesville, pushing the 31st festival to June of 2021, its executive director said.

“This health risk and economic crisis associated with coronavirus has come at a most critical time for the Billtown Blues Association,” said Bonnie Tallman, association executive director.

The early June timeframe for the festival presents a large “unknown” risk to all involved both in terms of health, safety, and economic recovery, Tallman said.

“So many people are in limbo,” she said, adding, “especially the hired artists who, when coming to our festival, often route in connecting performances with other venues on the way to and from Hughesville.

“Ultimately we felt we needed to take the most conservative approach for our artists, volunteers, and most importantly our attendees, considering no one knows how this situation will shape up in the weeks or months ahead,” Tallman said.

Plans are currently underway to reschedule the complete 2020 lineup. The days would be June 11-13, 2021.

“Last year, was a major turning point for us with the three-day music expansion and the camping option,” said Jared Mondell, vice president of the association board of directors.

“We turned the corner financially after being flat for the past few years,” he said. “Our ticket sales records indicated patrons from 41 of the state’s counties and 14 other states. … We want to hang on to that momentum as we plan.”

Those that have purchased tickets to the 2020 festival will be contacted via email with refund instructions, he said.

The association is keeping a very open mind about the future, including rescheduling the already canceled audition concert, as well as producing other special events between now and the Blues Festival in 2021 as the current crisis wanes and safety measures indicate they can proceed, Mondell said.

For specific questions, the association can be contacted via a contact form on their website, www.billtownblues.org.

It happened during the “intense planning time as association members secured volunteers, got the stage production lines up and finalized the artists’ contracts,” Tallman said.

It occurred as the association was negotiating media buys and during its fundraising effort involving long-time supporters and new sponsors, who now are part of the supporting “family,” she said.

In a virtual meeting association members came to the conclusion to refocus energy on next year rather than postpone the event this year.

For those who have sent supporting donations, they will be earmarked for next year.

The fundraising effort is year-round, but picks up momentum from January through March, she said.

The association consists of: Tom Butler, president; Jared Mondell, vice president; Teri MacBride, secretary and Charlie Lockard, treasurer.

Board members include: Dave Strickler, Bernie Strosser, Chris Kulp, Patty Robbins and Lori Butler.

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