PATRICK COUNTY, Va. – FloydFest, an annual music festival that draws in thousands of visitors to Southwest Virginia each year, has been canceled due to COVID-19.
“Music is king around here,” said Patrick County resident Mike Shepherd.
FloydFest 2020 joined countless other events and festivals pulling the plug on this year’s schedule because of the virus.
Below is a statement posted on the event’s Twitter page:
The festival is put on by Across-the-Way Productions. Chief Operating Officer Sam Calhoun said organizers consulted health officials and the Gov. Ralph Northam’s office before making the announcement on Thursday.
“This was very difficult to know that we worked so hard at it and we wouldn’t be able to have that reunion, really of community that we’ve built over all these years,” said Calhoun. "But it’s the safest and smartest decision for our patrons, for our artists, for everyone involved.”
The festival site sits in Patrick County, on the border of Floyd County. Tourism Directors Pat Sharkey and Sandra Puckett Belcher, respectively, said the cancellation isn’t music to their ears.
“I’m pretty sad," said Sharkey. “It’s just a phenomenal celebration for our own community to be able to go to a big event right here and feel like its our own hometown music fest. So, it’s a huge impact in every way: economics, culture and community. And it’s with a sad heart we all let it go for this year.”
“Ooh, yeah. It’s pretty heartbreaking,” added Belcher, who also runs Patrick County’s marketing.
The economic ripple effect is widespread because now, those visitors won’t spend money at restaurants, shops, gas stations, grocery stores, hotels and other lodging sites in both counties. Patrick County will also not get meals or occupancy taxes from festival-goers.
“It’s a big hit. We’re taking a big hit," Belcher said.
Calhoun said FloydFest draws in about 15,000 people and has about a $2.5 million dollar economic impact on the region every year. Although he’s sad to miss out on the music this year, he said the mountains won’t be silent forever.
“We’re very confident we’re going to come back in 2021 stronger than ever,” said Calhoun.
For those who already purchased tickets to the event, originally scheduled for July 22-26, they have five options — rollover, donate, ticket credit, transfer or refund. You can find out by clicking here.
The theme, website and more are set to be announced next week for the 2021 FloydFest, which is scheduled for July 21-25.