No Sisters Folk Festival in 2020 | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

No Sisters Folk Festival in 2020

We'll have to wait til next year to celebrate the beloved music festival


The 24th annual Sisters Folk Festival was slated for September 11-13, but  with uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, SFF is postponing the event until September of 2021.

It's the second time the festival has been forced to cancel in the past several years. In 2017, wildfire smoke caused organizers to make a last-minute call to cancel.

Crista Munro, executive director of SFF, spoke to the Source this month about what the fall would like for the popular Central Oregon festival. With government mandates stating that there would be no large gatherings held through September, Munro said the organization was looking into ways they could hold the festival under different modifications.

  • Sisters Folk Festival
"Lots of 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 Munro in a press release. "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."

While many (myself included) were looking to SFF for a potential comeback to the live music scene, it's hard to blame the non-profit organization for its decision. Lowered capacity, masks and socially distanced shows isn't really the atmosphere a music festival should have. It would feel like less of a celebration and more of a safety hazard.

"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," Munro stated. "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."

SFF still plans to hold some type of event over the original weekend of the festival—likely be a live streamed program with a smaller in-person audience if guidelines allow it.

For people who bought tickets to this year's planned festival, tickets will be rolled over until next year, unless you plan to upgrade to a festival loyalty package or donate the purchase to SFF. Refunds will be given by request until June 30.

Creative director Brad Tisdel says they're working on bringing this year's planned lineup into 2021. This will take a lot of work, considering how much artists' touring schedules have been changed or pushed back.

The festival is rescheduled for September 10-12, 2021.

"We look forward to celebrating it with you in 2021 and thank you for your support and belief in Sisters Folk Festival," added Tisdel.

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...

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