Just over two weeks before the start of the event, the 2021 AthFest Music and Arts Festival has been cancelled. AthFest Educates Executive Director Jill Helme says COVID-19 is once again the culprit.
“Unfortunately, we received notification from Athens-Clarke this morning that they were not going to be able to issue us the final permit for the 2021 AthFest Music and Arts Festival because of the rate of positive COVID cases in our community,” Helme said.
The festival was cancelled for the first time in its history last year due to coronavirus, but Helme says the situation feels very different this time around.
“Last year, everything was a scramble for everybody, and everybody was just trying to figure it out together and I think what’s so disheartening and what’s so frustrating this year is that we didn’t have to be in this position.”
She adds, “We didn’t have to have the rates that we have that are impacting everything that’s happening in our community, but specifically in our case, impacting these events that we put on, these special events.”
AthFest had been pushed back from its regular summer time date to September 24th through 26th of this year. The festival raises funds for AthFest Educates which supports local music and arts education for area youth.
Organizers say they will assess the situation in January 2022 in considering moving ahead with a 2022 festival.