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Letters: A Reason to Cancel
An Ol' Front Porch Music Festival board member explains
July 1, 2020

he 2020 Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival has been cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. Doug Sligh, board member and one of several volunteer organizers, writes in to explain the board’s decision.
There are those that are upset about our decision to cancel the Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival. As a board member, I want everyone who questions this decision to understand why I voted to cancel.

To start, I began working to find and contract artists one week after the 2019 festival. I developed relationships with the artists and agents. Since we cannot book every artist, I also dealt with the disappointment struggling and emerging artists expressed when I finally notified them they would not be booked for the 2020 festival.

I love this volunteer job. I love the music we are able to present by booking this wonderful array of talented artists. All of us on the festival board understand the business climate in Oriental in 2020. We know the businesses who supported us in the past are the very businesses that need the festival most.

If you are disappointed that we canceled the festival, think about the hours and hours of work already invested in the 2020 festival. This is not a trivial event. The budget for this “free” festival would probably blow your mind. Free music is not free. Someone is paying the artists to perform. Someone is paying for the stage and the portable toilets and the sound system and organising the food park and recruiting volunteers and renting the golf carts, It is not free.

If you want to have a say in the 2021 festival, volunteer to help make it happen. This is not easy. We can use your help.

When I weigh all this work against the risk I perceive right now it seems like an insurmountable task. When I worry that we cannot follow Governor Cooper’s executive orders if we have the festival it looks like an egregious act to vote to go ahead with the festival this year. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns. There are still three plus months until the festival date. But, we need more than three months to make this happen. I am not the only person who started working on the 2020 festival in October of 2019.

If you still feel we made the wrong decision, let’s talk. Maybe you can educate me about the things we overlooked that would have made this year’s festival possible. But, I warn you, the case for canceling was not close.

Doug Sligh
Oriental, NC
Related Links
• Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival 2020 Cancelled

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