The Nelsonville Music Festival, or NMF, Stuart’s Opera House’s annual fundraiser, has been canceled this summer due to the growing coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. 

NMF Founder and Executive Director Tim Peacock released an official statement Friday, March 20, letting Southeast Ohioans and NMF fans know of the difficult decision to postpone the festival until 2021. The festival, originally set for June 4-7, was canceled mainly due to the statewide moratorium on public gatherings.

Chloe Musick, marketing and public relations director for Stuart’s Opera House, described the postponement as one of the most difficult and thought-out decisions, but they wanted to act in the best interest of everyone involved. 

“Right now, in the middle of a pandemic, I think most people are incredibly understanding and aware of the severity of the pandemic and what comes with that,” Musick said. “So I think most people, sure, are disappointed … but when it comes to people’s health, whether it’s the artists, the attendees, the volunteers, the vendors, the sponsors, so many people are involved who are at risk. We cannot roll the dice.”

Though they aren’t sure exactly what postponing the festival a full year would look like due to artist availability, solidifying dates and other logistical aspects of planning the festival, the Stuart’s Opera House executive team is working non-stop to create options. 

Peacock said in the press release that people who purchased tickets to NMF should expect to hear from them in an email sometime next week regarding refund options. Musick said they’re trying to create a system for people to be able to donate either all or a portion of their ticket money toward Stuart’s Opera House.

The annual festival is known for delivering several different genres and a mix of national, regional and local performers. The 2020 NMF was supposed to feature Billy Strings, Turkuaz with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, Black Pumas and several other artists. Past artists include Death Cab for Cutie, Randy Newman, The Flaming Lips and Mac DeMarco. 

Musick explained the cancelation as a huge hit for Stuart’s Opera House, as it serves as one of their main fundraisers. The Stuart’s Opera House team has set up a donation page through the NMF website with a “donate now” button and also online at the Stuart’s Opera House official website

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