Sisters Folk Festival falls victim to wildfires, cancels event

The Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon has announced the cancellation of this weekend’s event, owing to the poor air quality at the festival site in the central part of the state. Wildfires in Oregon, along with others in California and Washington, have contributed to the situation where they feel they can not bring people in to share the music on tap.

“After days of intensive consultation with fire managers, meteorologists and health professionals, we have determined that we cannot move forward with the festival without severely compromising the quality of the experience for our artists and our patrons. The well-being of our patrons, artists and volunteers is of paramount concern for the Sisters Folk Festival organization.

Predicted weather and smoke forecasts through the weekend do not allow us to stage the event with confidence that their well-being and the quality of experience you all have come to expect and appreciate can be delivered.

The Festival attempted to establish contingencies and alternatives at the Sisters Schools. Unfortunately, given that the schools were forced to close this week due to smoke conditions, we could not confidently establish that the air quality even indoors will be adequate.”

A mix of folk, bluegrass, old time, and Americana artists had been booked to play September 8-10, but for the first time in the festival’s 22 year history, the show will not go on.

The entire town of Sisters, OR gets involved in this festival, which hosts musical performances and workshops at a number of locations all within a few blocks of the town center. Like the popular Telluride festival in Colorado, attendance is limited to a number of people that can be comfortably accommodated within Sisters.

The organizers ask for some time as they consider how they will address issues of payments and refunds in the face of the decision to cancel.

“It will take a week or more for the Festival to assess our financial commitments and the impact this cancellation will have upon the Festival and community. Further information on our next steps will be provided as soon as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this difficult and unprecedented event.”

What a great shame on all sides.

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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.