The Podunk Bluegrass Festival, one of the premiere bluegrass music festivals in the region, has been canceled this year.
Fiscal concerns prompted the festival, an East Hartford institution for 16 years, to pull up roots and move to Dodd Stadium in Norwich last year. Scheduling was the cause of this year’s cancellation.
“The Town of Norwich and Dodd Stadium location looked promising and provided a good venue for the 2012 festival with the potential to develop into a long term home for Podunk.” read a statement posted on the festival’s Facebook page early Sunday. “Unfortunately, there was a conflict with home baseball games for the 2013 festival dates and neither the Tigers’ nor Podunk schedules could be adjusted.”
The statement continues: “After months of effort, the board has not found a clear, long-lasting solution for Podunk’s home. In order to provide artists enough time to make alternate plans, the board believes it necessary to cancel the festival at this time for 2013, and devote our time and effort to the 2014 festival.”
According to the statement, those who have already purchased advanced tickets can choose to either receive a full refund, or allow the festival to keep the money as a donation toward the festival’s 2014 costs.
Those who purchased tickets can contact festival organizers via email to email@example.com, or snail mail at 80 Brandegee Lane, Berlin, CT 06037.
In 2012 the festival was moved out of East Hartford when mayor Marcia Leclerc determined the town couldn’t continue to provide the roughly $44,000 it took to put on the annual festival. At that time organizer Roger Moss said holding the event at Dodd Stadium in Norwich would defer many of those costs.
“It’s a great move for the festival,” Moss told the Courant. “We’re excited to be here in Norwich and to continue to offer the festival.”
The festival’s statement said a number of issues ruled out other potential sites, from a change in festival format to lack of camping space.
“The desire is to find a home for Podunk and develop the financial backing necessary to bring back a strong world-class festival in 2014 that can vie for Festival of the Year [from the International Bluegrass Music Association], just as Podunk was named in 2010.”