” Anytime, you have a line-up like we did for Whimmydiddle, you are going to attract a lot of people and it’s not even the amount of people, but with a line up like that, you’re going to have people traveling to Hamilton from all over the country…When you get that many people moving around and coming to town, the risk isn’t worth it for everybody,” Helms said.
There was also a financial challenge created by the uncertainty that threatened the festival.
”With everything up in the air, nobody knows if they can buy tickets and that could have been a huge setback for RiversEdge,” he said, “It was a hard decision, but we felt it was in the best interest of everybody.”
Other venues started announcing cancellations at the end of March or in April and the organizers of Whimmydiddle held out, hoping to get guidance from the state on when venues like RiversEdge could reopen.
“We just didn’t see it on the horizon. We know that music venues or large gatherings of people will be among the last things to reopen. So, we waited as long as we could,” Helms said.
Typically, the festival serves as a fundraiser for RiversEdge and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, which are both non-profit groups.
JJ Grey & Mofro, Anderson East, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Steeldrivers, Charley Crockett, Larkin Poe, Sierra Ferrell, The Tillers and Tall Tall Trees were set to perform as part of the 2020 line-up.
With a mix of country sounds at the core of Whimmydiddle, artists have presented a variety of musical styles from progressive bluegrass and Americana to rock-blues and more. The event has drawn more than 3,000 people to the park on one night. Last year, concertgoers traveled from more than 17 states for Whimmydiddle.