Greencastle Music Fest becomes another 2020 casualty

Friday, July 24, 2020
Lead singer Mark Maxwell and the Louisville Crashers have been headlining Greencastle Music Fest the last few years. For the Crashers and the music lovers who have enjoyed the music the past 10 years, it’s wait ‘til next year for the event.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE

Chalk up another casualty of the 2020 curse of COVID-19.

The annual Greencastle Music Fest, scheduled for Aug. 21-22, has been canceled for 2020, organizer Gail Smith said Friday.

“It’s the responsible thing to do,” she reasoned, noting “we were so optimistic in June.”

But since then, coronavirus cases have been on the upswing in Indiana, prompting the governor to issue a mandatory mask order that begins Monday. Meanwhile, Indiana has remained at Stage 4.5 in recent months, falling short of the Stage 5 status that allows larger gatherings then the 250 people currently permitted.

With all that in play, the handwriting was on the wall for an outdoor event that drew an estimated 4,500 music lovers over its two-day run last August.

“I just got off the phone with Mark Maxwell (lead singer of the Louisville Crashers group that has headlined the festival the past few years), and he’s really disappointed.”

Regardless, Smith and the Music Fest committee have done the right thing, she said.

“It was really hard,” Smith acknowledged. “I know the numbers are there. And this is me personally telling you, I don’t know what to believe. Putnam County is a safe place, and kudos to whoever has had a hand in that, but putting on the Music Fest is tourism-related and driven. We reach out to other places for that, and you just don’t know the risk that somebody will come who has been in one of the hot spots.

“So the responsible thing to do is postpone it, and in doing that, we’re still optimistic. We’re not going to have it in a month, but we’re doing it.”

And 2021 will be “bigger and better,” Smith believes.

“Hopefully things will be better and we can celebrate the Music Fest that is so important to so many people, so many businesses downtown and for local tourism.”

Smith said between now and next year, she hopes to possibly do another 5K fundraiser in December and another next March to pump more funding into the event. The5K earlier this year exceeded even the expectations of the ever-optimistic Smith.

The interlude also will give her more time to work on the festival and additional time to raise money.

“Who knows,” Smith said, “Mark Maxwell might even be able to get somebody from Styx to sing.”

The Louisville Crashers, a fixture at the event in recent years, will be on the 2021 bill, Smith assured.

The decision to cancel was made by Smith and her committee, which includes Greencastle Mayor Bill Dory. She also received input from the City Council, which in June approved a street closing request for the event by a 4-3 margin.

Music Fest is a community music gathering that has been taking place in the streets of Greencastle for 10 years. The event began as an anniversary celebration for local Greencastle restaurant, Almost Home, and is still hosted by the restaurant today.

“This is our 30th year, and we wanted to be able to celebrate 30 years of Almost Home at the Music Fest,” Smith lamented.

But now it’s wait’ll next year, an expression Smith, a longtime Chicago Cubs fan, knows all too well.

“I’m optimistic,” she said. “We’ll be back.”

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  • So Sad. I always enjoy coming to my hometown for this event.

    -- Posted by fishersresident on Sat, Jul 25, 2020, at 10:35 AM
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