Some music festivals are returning to the stage this fall
Two of the nation’s biggest music festivals – Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn. – have pushed back their typical summer events until September, joining a range of music festivals that regularly hold their outdoor events in the fall.
Coming up with this year’s list, there are as many regional music festivals skipping 2021 as there are events planned, but because it was a crowded area that still leaves a variety of choices.
Summerfest and Bonnaroo are both Labor Day weekend. Closer to Wichita, Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma has gone from its regular Memorial Day schedule to Labor Day weekend. These events kick off a season with music festivals every weekend until mid-October.
But you’ll have to plan ahead as many organizers report sold-out sales with others almost sold-out, attributed to a combination of postponed tickets from canceled events and enthusiastic fans.
Another thing to expect: Organizers are continually changing participation guidelines as they monitor public health conditions and work with their local health officials to determine ways to safely organize their events.
Lollapalooza drew an estimated 385,000 people to a lakeside park in Chicago on the first weekend in August. Participants had to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Two weeks after the event, health officials released data showing that at least 88% of those present were vaccinated and 203 cases of COVID-19 were linked to the festival, the Associated Press reported.
Two weeks ago, the Roots N Blues Festival in Columbia, Missouri announced it would require a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to attend the festival from September 24-26. Organizers also urged even those who are vaccinated to take a test before attending the festival which has a special theme this year: every act is led by women, Grammy-winning headliners Sheryl Crow, Mavis Staples and Brandi Carlile at the future Tank. and The Bangas (nominated for a 2020 Grammy) and all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache (Latin Grammy winners).
Safety practices vary from event to event, and it is wise to keep an eye on the details of any event you plan to attend, as the rules may change by the time it takes place. .
On Thursday, officials at the Walnut Valley Festival held in Winfield, 40 miles south of Wichita, released an update on the COVID security protocols that will be enforced on the festival grounds.
Organizers had previously announced that the 49th annual Walnut Valley Festival would be a hybrid. Appalachian Road Show, 3 Trails West and The Dillards are part of a 30-act lineup and eight acoustic instrument competitions that will take place on four stages in person from September 15-19. There will also be a live streaming option to see the performers on the main stage if you are not comfortable coming to the event.
Walnut Valley does not require proof of vaccination or testing, but organizers encourage those planning to attend to get vaccinated and tested before attending.
They created a pre-festival vaccination campaign, running vaccination clinics with prizes and including a raffle for anyone who has received any of the COVID vaccines, regardless of their location, by the end of August. The registration deadline is August 31st and full details are available at www.wvfest.com/ipicklivemusic.
Walnut Valley also offers special bracelets for those who have chosen to be vaccinated. Other planned precautions: one-way traffic, increased air circulation and wearing a mask compulsory in the buildings and the area under the stands where the vendors’ stands are installed; masks mandatory for all staff and workers interacting with the public; masks required to board the shuttle and encouraged in high density crowd environments; hand washing and disinfection stations; on-site tests available each morning.
Folk singer and songwriter John McCutcheon came up with the idea of writing a call-to-action song so that Walnut Valley and other festivals could take place. Georgia-based McCutcheon has performed at 38 of the previous 48 festivals. The lyrics to “Like We Did” remind listeners of our ability to unite to defeat a common enemy, as we did during World War II and the September 11 terrorist attacks.
He created a six-minute video of him playing the song interspersed with clips from musicians from this year’s lineup, including Bing Futch, Tom Chapin and Missy Raines supporting the message: Get vaccinated so we can all come together to live music and festivals.
“John wrote this song out of frustration,” said Rex Flottman, media director for the Walnut Valley Association. “He wants the opportunity to go out and see people and share all the new songs he’s written while he’s stuck at home. He told me he wanted to make it clear that if people want to enjoy live performances by artists like him who need to make a living, they also need to take a little distance. They need to help us so that they can do it safely and not put our health and well-being at risk by trying to provide live music. “
If you’re looking to enjoy your favorite musical genre during the cooler fall temperatures, there’s a festival a short drive from Wichita almost every weekend. There are also several in cities with direct flights from Wichita. Monitor social media channels and festival websites for updates on any programming changes or adjustments to participation requirements.
Here are a few to consider:
September 2-5, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.: Headliners: Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Grand Ole Opry and Tyler, The Creator, bonnaroo.com
Sept 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18, Summerfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Headliners include Luke Bryan, Jonas Brothers, Chance the Rapper and Miley Cyrus, summerfest.com.
September 3-4, ICT Fest, Wichita: Free event for all ages with over 40 performances across all genres scheduled at City Skate Park and Naftzger Park, plus late night concerts for ages 21 and over at Kirby’s, ictfest.com
September 3-5, Rocklahoma, Pryor, Oklahoma: Headliners include Rob Zombie, Slipknot and limpbizkit, rocklahoma.com
Sep 9-12, Dancefestopia, La Cygne, Kan. : South Kansas City electronic music and camping party with over 150 performers on four stages, including headliners Griz, Zeds Dead and Rezz, dancefestopia.com
September 10-11, Bluegrass & Chili Festival, Wagoner, Oklahoma: Headliners include Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Edgar Loudermilk Band among others, bluegrasschilifest.com
September 11, Crossroads Music Fest, Kansas City: Two locations outside of Crossroads and two locations outside of West Bottoms, over 30 acts including The Freedom Affair, Arquesta Del SolSoul and Deshica Rage with Jessica Paige & Kadesh Flow, cmfkc.com
From September 15 to 19, Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kan. : Headliners include Appalachian Road Show, 3 Trails West, John McCutcheon and The Dillards, wvfest.com
September 16-19, Riot Fest, Chicago: Headliners include Morrissey, The Smashing Pumpkins, Slipknot and Run the Jewels, riotfest.org
From September 17 to 19, Born & Raised Festival, Pryor, Oklahoma: Headliners include ZZ Top and Cody Jinks, bornandraisedfestival.com
Sep 17-18, Shipyard Music Festival, Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Headliners include Son Volt, The Wild Feathers and Southern Avenue, shipyardfest.com
From September 17 to 19, Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Telluride, Colorado: Headliners include Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Taj Mahal Quartet and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, tellurideblues.com
September 17-19, World Food & Music Festival, Des Moines, Iowa: Headliners include The Original Wailers and the Dick Danger Band, dsmpartnership.com/worldfoodandmusicfestival
From September 17 to 19, Life is Beautiful Music and Art Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada: Headliners include Billie Eilish, Green Day, Tame Impala, lifeisbeautiful.com
September 17-18, iHeartRadio Music Festival, Las Vegas, Nevada: Headliners include Cheap Trick, Maroon 5 and Dua Lipa, iheart.com/music-festival
September 22-25, AmericanaFest, Nashville: Headliners include Brandy Clark, Rodney Crowell and Allison Russell, americanamusic.org/about-americanafest
September 23-26, Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Ky.: Headliners include Korn, Metallica and Disturbed, Louderthanlifefestival.com
September 24-26, Roots N Blues Festival, Columbia, Missouri: Headliners include Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow and Mavis Staples, rootsnbluesfestival.com
September 25-26, Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival, Franklin, Tennessee: Headliners include Dave Matthews Band, The Black Keys and Maren Morris and Cage the Elephant, pilgrimagefestival.com
Sep 30-Oct 2, Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, Guthrie, Oklahoma: Headliners include The Dillards, Mountain Smoke and Steelwind, oibf.com
October 1-3 and 8-10, Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, Texas: Headliners include George Strait, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Duran Duran and Tyler, The Creator, aclfestival.com
October 1-3, Mempho Music Festival, Memphis, Tennessee: Headliners include Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers and Billy Strings, memphofest.com
October 2, Southwest Iowa Band Jamboree, Clarinda, Iowa: More than 50 schools in Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska are judged in a parade and field walk in a day-long competition, clarinda.org/band-jamboree
October 6-9, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena, Ark. : Headliners include Allman Betts, Mavis Staples and Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson, kingbiscuitfestival.com
October 7-9, Banjo Fest, Oklahoma City: Expect performances, Hall of Fame inductions, Bricktown Banjo Bash and Banjo Fest in Concert, the weekend’s final event, featuring the Krüger brothers and others performing at Hudiburg Chevrolet Performing Arts Center in Midwest City, americanbanjomuseum.com
October 7-10, Hillberry Music Festival, Eureka Springs, Ark. : Headliners include Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, The Infamous Stringdusters and Leftover Salmon, hillberryfestival.com