The Out Among The Stars festival, more commonly known as OATS, has announced that the previously scheduled 2014 event has been cancelled, and that the festival will no longer be held.
This would have been their 15th annual event, held over the 4th of July weekend in Benton, PA on the site of the Benton Rodeo Grounds, just west of Wilkes-Barre.
An official statement was posted this morning on the OATS web site:
It is with sadness that the OATS Board of Directors announces the end of the OATS Bluegrass Festival. Throughout the years we have had the ability to bring bluegrass legends and award winning bands as well as introducing new and interesting bands to our audiences. Our success over the last 14 years would not have been possible without the support of our families, friends, patrons, musicians, vendors and the most incredible volunteer staff, ever.
We spoke a few minutes ago with Jodie Fishbein, a Board member and one of the initial founders, who shared that the decision to dissolve was a difficult and painful one for everyone involved.
“We keep a really good eye on our numbers, and they have been lagging of late. The Board didn’t want to lower the caliber of our festival, and go to a smaller, regional event, which we already have so many of around here, so we chose to end it.
We got a lot of wonderful donations from people trying to help keep thing going, but it just wasn’t enough.
I feel like we have been very lucky, with 14 great years. We always had great volunteers; it was a great festival.”
OATS will be sorely missed by bluegrass fans in northern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.