We currently live in a world where concerts, festivals and other live entertainment performances temporarily do not exist. With large gatherings prohibited and performers unable to put on shows, some of the nation’s biggest festivals have been pushed back or canceled entirely. Even the most iconic music fests, like Coachella and Stagecoach, are not immune to the stay-at-home orders issued around the country; both have been pushed back to October instead of their usual summertime dates.
Local festivals are in just as tough a spot as they grapple with the social barriers brought on by the coronavirus. To combat the temporary ban on large gatherings, one local music festival is taking their tunes online so people can still get a taste of the music.
Hagfest made its debut in 2017 at the Southgate House Revival in Newport. The festival brings local artists together to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Country legend Merle Haggard, who passed away in 2016. Bands from the Tri-State area and beyond come together and play Haggard hits as well as original Bluegrass, Folk and Country tunes.
Even with state restrictions on large gatherings in place, the love for Haggard’s music and songs like it still burns bright. Unwilling to let the young tradition go down without a fight, Hagfest is going digital.
The Country music festival will be holding an online concert on Saturday, May 16. With over 20 listed acts, the festival will be a change from the usual event, which typically sees hundreds of fans congregating to enjoy the sounds of classic and original Bluegrass tunes. Instead, fans can hop on to Hagfest’s livestream on Facebook and YouTube, which will begin at 6 p.m.
The festival will raise money for the Southgate House Revival, the performing musicians as well as the Appalachian Prison Book Project, which provides books and education to incarcerated people. Upon the announcement of taking the festival online, Hagfest released a statement regarding the alterations.
“This was a big undertaking, but its purpose is to bring and grow communities together, and help folks find some sense of normalcy in these crazy times,” they said via their Facebook page.
Artists slated to perform include legendary Bluegrass artist Bill Kirchen, Luna & the Mountain Jets, Joe’s Truck Stop, John R. Miller and Chloe Edmonstone and dozens more.
More information regarding Hagfest's lineup and causes can be found on the Hagfest Facebook page.