Wheatland Music Festival going virtual

Lack of ticket sales may impact 2021 event

REMUS — Looking forward to making their 47th festival a great one, Wheatland Music Festival volunteer, Pamela Burke and many others are having to readjust this year’s expectations as the organization announces its plans for a virtual celebration.

“Not having the festival onsite was a hard reality for so many of us that have made Wheatland a part of our lives for decades,” Burke said. “There are so many small groups within the big community that are missing practicing their own Wheatland traditions with their family, like decorating their campsite, doing a midnight walk of the campgrounds, or getting a henna ‘tattoo’ at middleground.”

According to Burke, the decision to make Wheatland an online event was for public health and safety reasons due to COVID-19. She said this is the first time they haven’t met on the grounds for a festival.

“Many friends and family make this their annual reunion. Many people are bringing third and fourth generations now,” she said. “Despite the change due to COVID, Wheatland is committed to continuing to meet its mission.”

Looking forward to seeing some of the women bands coming in 2020 such as Sweet Water Warblers, Evie Ladin and Eilen Jewell, Burke said the online programs are now set for Sept. 11-13 and are free to the public.

The bands will also be rehired for 2021.

“Many many hours have gone into producing the programs. Some gifts of support have gratefully already come in from sponsors, staff and board donations,” Burke said. “As a nonprofit organization, all dollars earned — whether from ticket or merchandise sales, donations or vendor fees is put back into the organization to meet its charitable mission of preserving and presenting the traditional arts.”

However, with the event making a virtual appearance this year, the organization’s primary source of revenue — ticket sales — will be missing this year. Burke said she hopes Wheatlanders will consider making a donation to ensure the organization thrives through 2021 and for future generations.

“The festival income provides money for future festivals, pays hundreds of traditional artists across Michigan and beyond, finances year-round activities such as school and senior programs, instrument lessons, scholarships, songwriting, many other programs, pays two office staff and the maintenance of the 160 acres, many buildings and stages,” she said.

This year’s festivities will take place on the Wheatland Music Organization YouTube channel and its Facebook page, facebook.com/wheatlandmusicorganization.

Those interested in making donations for future Wheatland events may visit wheatlandmusic.org/donation-page/.

For more information, email wmo.office@wheatlandmusic.org.