Hamilton country music festival organizers now look toward 2021

Whimmydiddle, Hamilton’s two-night music festival is expected to draw record crowds at RiversEdge. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
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Whimmydiddle, Hamilton’s two-night music festival is expected to draw record crowds at RiversEdge. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Officials are looking toward the 2021 edition of the Whimmydiddle Country Music Festival after being forced to cancel this year’s event at Hamilton’s RiversEdge Amphitheater because of precautions over the coronavirus.

“We were all really excited about Whimmydiddle and it’s a great event, but when you’re dealing with a venue or a place that so popular in the community, and it means so much to so many people, we don’t want to jeopardize the long-term future,” said Adam Helms, director of Resident Services for the City of Hamilton.

The fifth year of the festival was scheduled for Aug. 14 and Aug. 15. For those that have already purchased tickets, refunds will be automatically issued.

”We hope to be able to bring Whimmydiddle back to Hamilton in 2021,” said Adam Helms, director of Resident Services for the City of Hamilton.

Due to the uncertainty and public health concerns, officials felt it is everyone’s best interest to cancel Whimmydiddle, he said.

” 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.

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