Inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival postponed again to 2022

People in the event production and venue management business have certainly had a tough year. No one gets any special sympathy, since the COVID restrictions have harmed their business almost universally, or at least worldwide. And of course everyone who takes employment in this business, from entertainers to food vendors, ticketing services, ushers, stagehands, and transportation specialists, have essentially lost a full year’s income.

But we have to feel particularly for the folks behind the Earl Scruggs Music Festival, announced to great acclaim during September of 2019, and scheduled to host its inaugural event over Labor Day weekend the following year in Mill Spring, NC. The theme was to be a celebration of all the types of music that Earl had championed and performed during his long music career, including of course the bluegrass music that he recorded with both Bill Monroe and in partnership with Lester Flatt, as well as his explorations into the early country rock and the nascent Americana styles in the 1970s and beyond.

We all know what happened to everyone’s plans for music events in 2020 when state and municipal leaders chose extreme caution in the face of the viral spread, and nearly all events of any size were postponed or cancelled. Since The Earl Scruggs Music Festival was to be held indoors at the Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort, chosen partly for its proximity to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina state mandates would not allow it to go forward.

So it was on to 2021, with high hopes to at last debut this festival, and its ambitious plans to bring a major destination event to the southwestern portion of the state. Major acts were booked and preparations made in expectation that restrictions would be lifted soon with vaccination now well underway and hospitalizations dropping rapidly.

But North Carolina health officials have been slow in suggesting when large indoor events might be allowed again, leading the organizers of the Scruggs festival to put another year between now and their first big bash in Mill Spring. They have announced today that the curtain will finally go up on the Earl Scruggs Music Festival September 2-3, 2022.

JT Scruggs, Festival Director and Member Emeritus of the Earl Scruggs Center Board of Directors, says that they weren’t willing to go forward with this level of uncertainty.

“While we are hopeful that indoor festivals will be allowed by September this year, no one is sure yet and we don’t want to risk having to dilute the festival experience for our patrons or reduce attendance because of COVID. After carefully considering the pros and cons, our committee decided that the best decision was to wait until 2022.”

Tickets purchased for either 2020 or 2021 will automatically roll over to next year.

JT expressed his gratitude to those who have been anxiously awaiting this big music event, and promises that it will live up to expectations.

“We are so thankful to have such loyal ticket holders, and appreciate them hanging in there with us until we can produce the festival that we have our hearts set on, to give Earl the tribute he deserves. We know it will be worth the wait.”

One wonders what the impact of this postponement for early September will mean for those looking forward to attending the 2021 World of Bluegrass convention in Raleigh later that month.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.