BREAKING NEWS - FOOTHILL'S DATE CHANGE
Jasper, AL – Jasper Mayor David O’Mary issued a statement today regarding the latest news on Jasper’s Foothills Festival. “Last Thursday, Governor Kay Ivey issued her twenty-second supplemental emergency proclamation extending the Safer at Home Order. This executive health order keeps all previous regulatory measures for public health in place, including wearing of masks and social distancing. The order extends until Friday, March 5, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. With this in mind, in regards to public safety, we are rescheduling Foothills Festival to September 10th and 11th , 2021.” The new dates will bring FHF back to its original weekend in September, and will mark the first time there has been a 1 year break in the festival since its revival in
Many issues regarding public health concerns, logistics and even talent management, went into the decision, which was made late Friday afternoon. The Mayor and Jasper City Council were notified via email of the suggestion made by Foothills Committee members, and the decision to move the dates again was approved. “We have been seeing as many as 27,000 people come to our downtown in recent years. There would be no way to enforce or manage facial coverings or social distancing.” said O’Mary. “With uncertainty about the vaccine rollout, and numbers still at a high mark, we could not in good faith host an event that encouraged our citizens to gather in an environment that could possibly spread this virus.”
Local business partners were also contacted with the news, and agree with the decision, even if they wish it could be different. Bert Hendrix, Executive Vice President of Pinnacle Bank; which hosts the annual hospitality suite during the festival said, “There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the virus and what impact the vaccines may have. Even related to something as positive as our Foothills Festival, keeping people safe in this environment has to be a first priority." Curt Ballard, Executive Manager of Carl Cannon Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and long time premiere partner said, “It’s obviously a disappointment to have to wait on such a great event. Our company has always supported the festival and it is a tremendous economic weekend for our city, but, it is a big event that we want to always do right and well. Right now, I'd have to agree that for public safety, and for the event itself, we need to wait."
Zach Baker, who has been the talent buyer for Foothills since 2013, spoke of difficulty in predicting future issues in regards to scheduling entertainers. “The management for these bands are looking out for their clients and right now they are all as concerned about COVID as everyone else. This event has not only become a really big regional draw, it has gotten on the radar of artists nationwide, and acts want to come play here. If we put a show out with small crowd attendance, if our restaurants and breweries aren’t filled, if people aren’t here shopping during the day, then we have not produced at the level we want. It doesn’t benefit anyone.”
What about the lineup that was announced for the spring show? “Our contracts give us first right to reschedule dates, and the big news is we have been able to keep St. Paul & the Broken Bones as our Saturday September 11th headliner.” Said Baker. “That was a huge deal for us, and it looks as though most of our other acts will work out as well.”
Vendors are another major part of the weekend, and Lisa Myers, Special Events Coordinator for the city said she has been monitoring vendor sign up as weaker than normal. “Usually, this close to a date, 60 or so days out, we have solid vendor numbers. We had around 110 last year. We aren’t having that. Interest has been steadily growing in the recent years, and we may even have more people interested in it, and contacting us this year, but not as many willing to commit yet. “